German cybersecurity agency finds no censorship in Xiaomi mobile phones

A Xiaomi mobile phone
Lithuania had advised citizens to ditch Chinese handsets last year. Photo credit: Getty Images

Germany's federal cybersecurity agency has failed to find any evidence of censorship in Xiaomi mobile phones, a spokesperson has confirmed.

The news comes following Lithuania's National Cyber Security Centre releasing a report in September advising citizens to throw away any Chinese-made mobile phone handsets over privacy concerns.

Xiaomi's Mi 10T 5G phone was the focal point of the report, which said the devices had in-built censorship capabilities. That included censoring words and phrases such as "Free Tibet", "Long live Taiwan independence" and "democracy movement".

The report stated the censorship software had been turned off for the European Union, but could be turned on remotely at any point.

Lithuania's action led to the investigation from Germany's BSI which lasted several months.

"As a result, the BSI was unable to identify any anomalies that would require further investigation or other measures," the spokesperson said.

In a statement at the time a Xiaomi spokesperson told Newshub its devices "does not censor communications to or from its users".

"Xiaomi has never and will never restrict or block any personal behaviours of our smartphone users, such as searching, calling, web browsing or the use of third-party communication software," the statement said.

"Xiaomi fully respects and protects the legal rights of all users."

There have been doubts about using Chinese technology in countries around the world over the last few years, including in New Zealand.

In 2018 Spark wanted to use Huawei equipment as part of its 5G network, but the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) indicated there would be security risks if it did.

The UK Government had banned the same company's technology before that and the US announced in September it was going to replace Huawei's devices in its networks.

Huawei, the other companies targeted and the Chinese government have all denied the accusations and condemned the actions Western governments have taken against them.