According to the National Cyber Security Centre of the European country’s Defense Ministry, flagship smartphones being sold in Europe have pre-installed apps with the ability to censor specific words and phrases, such as “Free Tibet” and “Love live Taiwan independence.”
But although this capability to censor is currently for phones sold in European markets, such as the Xiaomi Mi 10T, the ministry claims this can be remotely activated at any time. The app can also be updated to add more terms into the word filter.
In a statement to reporters, a Xiaomi spokesperson says that the company fully complies with European regulations and does not restrict the freedom of consumers. Despite that, the Lithuanian government is still recommending to all its agencies and consumers to avoid or ditch Huawei and Xiaomi smartphones.
“Xiaomi’s devices do not censor communications to or from its users. Xiaomi has never and will never restrict or block any personal behaviors of our smartphone users, such as searching, calling, web browsing or the use of third-party communication software. Xiaomi fully respects and protects the legal rights of all users. Xiaomi complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).”