According to a report released by the Lithuanian Government’s National Cyber Security Center, some Xiaomi smartphones harbor a hidden feature that can detect and censor specific terms remotely. These keywords concern in particular the independence of Taiwan, or the liberation of Tibet. Update – 4:57 p.m .: Following the publication of our article, Xiaomi asserted its right of reply. Here is the manufacturer’s full statement: “Xiaomi devices do not censor communications to or from its users. Xiaomi has never restricted or blocked the personal behaviors of users of its smartphones, such as searching, calling, browsing the Internet or using third-party communication software, and never will. We respect and are committed to fully protecting the legal rights of our community. Xiaomi fully complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union ”. Original article: Slowly, but surely, Xiaomi is coming to the table of the most important smartphone manufacturers in the world. In August 2021, Xiaomi also became for a time the world number 1 in smartphone sales, ahead of Samsung and Apple. The Chinese firm still aims to become number one for good within 3 years. However, this success may well be marred by the publication of this new report. Indeed, the National Cybersecurity Center of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense has just published an edifying report, which claims that some Xiaomi smartphones like the Mi 10T are equipped with censorship features. Specifically, these devices have a hidden feature that detect and censor hundreds of keywords, the vast majority relating to sensitive issues in the eyes of the Chinese government like the independence of Taiwan or the liberation of Tibet. When one of its terms is found in a content, access to the latter is immediately blocked. As detailed in the report, this feature has been disabled in European markets, which suggests that it is primarily intended for Chinese territory. But according to the Lithuanian government agency, Xiaomi has the option to activate this feature remotely on any device. Read also: Xiaomi is blocking its smartphones in certain countries, here are which ones and why Xiaomi’s censorship also applies in some applications In addition and still according to the report, this list of sensitive keywords would go by the name of “MiAdBlocklist”. Censorship would also apply to certain applications such as security tools or Cleaner, the official MIUI cleaning app (Xiaomi’s home overlay) or even the default internet browser. “Our recommendation is not to buy new Xiaomi phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as quickly as possible ”, Lithuanian Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius said. As a reminder, the publication of this report occurs when diplomatic relations between China and Lithuania are already particularly strained. In August 2021, Lithuania gave the green light for the opening of a representation of Taiwan. A decision seen as a provocation for China, which does not consider the island of Taiwan as an independent state, but as part of its territory. And this despite the country’s official separation from the People’s Republic of China since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the recall of its ambassador to Lithuania, while Beijing also demanded that Vilnius recall its ambassador stationed in China. In any case, this report is unlikely to improve relations between the two countries. Source: Reuters