BSI finds neither security gaps nor indications of censorship in Xiaomi smartphones

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The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) did not find any indication of censorship functions or security gaps during a thorough investigation of Xiaomi smartphones. Previously, there were allegations from Lithuania and Taiwan. The BSI examined the mobile devices for several months, but found no abnormalities.

Therefore, no further investigations or other measures regarding the Xiaomi smartphones are required, the report Deutschlandfunk and Reuters. However, a BSI spokesman emphasized that the results of the investigations relate to Germany.

In September 2021, Lithuania’s IT security authority warned about Chinese smartphones from Xiaomi and Huawei, saying the phones had security gaps and built-in censorship functions. The BSI then started testing China smartphones.

A device from the Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi has been particularly critical in Lithuania because it is technically able to censor certain content on the built-in web browser. Although the censorship filter was not active in the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G, it could have been switched on remotely.

Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) takes the same line. A few days ago, the NCC made allegations of censorship and surveillance against Xiaomi. Taiwan’s regulator has also found that the Xiaomi 10T smartphone can use software to exercise censorship and surveillance. According to NCC test results, censorship works for both English and Traditional and Simplified Chinese.

In both cases, Xiaomi rejects the allegations. After the Lithuanians’ warning, a Xiaomi spokesman said his company’s devices do not censor communications with or from their users. Xiaomi Taiwan also denied the allegations against the NCC. The phones would not censor search terms, even on the web, nor would they restrict or block third-party calls or communications software. The BSI has now come to the same conclusion.

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