Xiaomi has seen a rise in popularity in recent years with affordable handsets that disrupt the market. They even surpassed Samsung last June to become the number one smartphone brand in the world.
But recent news has surfaced on some shady activity from the devices themselves.
Lithuania Defense Ministry’s cybersecurity agency published a report alleging Xiaomi phones have the capability to detect and censor certain words and terms without the owner knowing about them.
The agency investigated three devices — a Xiaomi Mi 10T, a Huawei P40 5G, and a OnePlus 8T. Apart from the censorship, it was found that the Xiaomi phone was also sending encrypted phone usage data to a server in Singapore. One security flaw was found on the P40 5G. Meanwhile, the OnePlus device had none.
The report says its study found a list of 449 keywords or groups of Chinese characters that can be censored by Xiaomi devices, including “Free Tibet”, “Voice of America”, “Democratic Movement”, and “long live Taiwan independence”.
What’s more alarming is that the list is continuously updated, even if the censor function is not activated. Affected devices block any content related to the keywords.
The report notes the censor function is disabled by default on devices sold in the European Union, but it can be enabled remotely at any time.