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Xiaomi smartphones: BSI finds no security gaps or censorship functions


Lithuania's cyber defense had warned of vulnerabilities and censorship functions in Chinese smartphones. The Federal Office for Information Security then carried out its own tests – with clear results.

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Xiaomi smartphone Mi 9 (archive image)


The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has not discovered any security gaps or indications of censorship functions in Xiaomi smartphones.

The authority announced this on Friday in Bonn and confirmed a corresponding report by Deutschlandfunk.

The BSI had been investigating the devices from China for several months because the Lithuanian cyber defense system had warned of security gaps and built-in censorship functions in Chinese mobile phones last September. The Lithuanians specifically referred to the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G model, but also examined the OnePlus 8T 5G and the Huawei P40 5G.

In the Xiaomi model, they had discovered a feature that was inactive in Lithuania, but at least it exists, that could censor downloaded material.

Accordingly, several apps, including the Mi Browser, would regularly download lists of prohibited expressions, such as "free Tibet" or "Long Live the Democratic Taiwan".

At the time of the investigation, the list contained 449 terms and combinations in Chinese letters.

»The device is technically able to activate the function at any time on command from outside and to censor content without the consent of the user.

We cannot rule out that this also works with Latin letters," the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Xiaomi welcomes the BSI statement

However, the BSI did not find any abnormalities in its investigation of "relevant devices", explained the BSI spokesman.

No transmission of filter lists was found either.

Therefore, no further research or other measures are required regarding the Xiaomi smartphones.

The results of the investigations relate to Germany.

A spokesman for Xiaomi welcomed the BSI statement.

The results of the investigation confirmed Xiaomi's commitment to transparent and responsible business operations, in which customer privacy and security are top priorities.

»It has proven that we comply with all EU and national data protection and security laws and all applicable EU standards for our products.«


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-01-14

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