VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuanian cybersecurity consultants are urging the nation’s authorities businesses to desert the usage of Chinese language smartphone manufacturers after an investigation recognized safety vulnerabilities and censorship issues with sure gadgets.
Lithuania’s Nationwide Cyber Safety Middle mentioned it discovered 4 main cybersecurity dangers for gadgets made by Huawei and Xiaomi, together with two referring to pre-installed apps and one involving private information leakage, and warned in opposition to utilizing these two manufacturers.
Xiaomi telephones, which include a content-filtering characteristic for 449 key phrases or teams of key phrases in Chinese language characters, additionally carry the chance of attainable restrictions on freedom of expression, in accordance with the Lithuanian investigation.
The cybersecurity middle warned the perform could possibly be activated at any time and mentioned it didn’t rule out the likelihood that phrases written in Latin characters could possibly be added. Based on the Lithuanian report, apps obtain up to date lists of censored phrases and phrases and are able to blocking them.
The phrases embrace “Free Tibet,” “Voice of America,” “Democratic Motion” and “Lengthy Reside Taiwan Independence.” Though the content-filtering characteristic was disabled and no censorship was carried out on the telephones the Lithuanian middle inspected, the middle warned the perform could possibly be activated at any time.
A Huawei spokesperson in Lithuania denied the allegations.
Xiaomi denied its telephones could possibly be used to censor or posed privateness dangers, saying they complied with the European Union’s stringent privateness laws.
“Xiaomi’s gadgets don’t censor communications to or from its customers,” the corporate mentioned in a press release. “Xiaomi has by no means and can by no means limit or block any private behaviors of our smartphone customers, corresponding to looking, calling, internet looking or the usage of third-party communication software program. Xiaomi absolutely respects and protects the authorized rights of all customers.”
The cybersecurity middle, which is a Protection Ministry company, additionally investigated telephones made by one other Chinese language firm, OnePlus, however discovered no issues.
“We strongly advocate that state and public establishments not use these gadgets and plan to provoke laws which regulates buying sure gadgets for the ministries and varied state businesses,” Deputy Protection Minister Margiris Abukevicius mentioned Wednesday.
Greater than 200 public authorities have bought such telephones, and over 4,500 telephones are in use, “which, in our opinion, will increase the dangers,” Abukevicius mentioned. He did not specify the makes of all of the telephones.
The middle’s investigation, launched Tuesday, was performed “to make sure the secure use of 5G cell gadgets bought in our nation and the software program they include,” he mentioned.
Additionally, abnormal “folks also needs to know what’s inside these telephones, in regards to the sure software program and take into account security earlier than making their choices,” the minister mentioned.
The transfer comes amid tensions between Lithuania and China.
Earlier this month, Lithuania recalled its ambassador to China following the Baltic nation’s determination in July to permit Taiwan to open an workplace in its capital beneath its personal title. In August, China recalled its ambassador to Lithuania and informed the Baltic nation to “instantly rectify its mistaken determination.”
Taiwan and Lithuania agreed in July that the workplace within the capital, Vilnius, set to open this fall, will bear the title Taiwan somewhat than Chinese language Taipei — a time period typically utilized in different international locations so as to not offend Beijing. On Wednesday, Lithuania mentioned it was sending one other 236,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan.
——— Kelvin Chan in London contributed to this report.