Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) on Thursday issued a notice to Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, confirming no evidence was found that its smartphones contain an alleged “censorship” function. According to Reuters, the relevant spokesman said: “As a result, the BSI was unable to identify any anomalies that would require further investigation or other measures.”
In September 2021, the Lithuanian National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a report urging its citizens not to use Xiaomi products. The reason, according to the NCSC, was that Xiaomi smartphones have “censorship capabilities” that can detect sensitive words in violation of the “One China” policy.
The report also mentioned that after carrying out an investigation of smartphones made by Chinese firms Xiaomi, Huawei and OnePlus, three so-called “potential risks” were found on Xiaomi devices, one on Huawei’s P40 smartphone, while other network security vulnerabilities were found on OnePlus devices.
A spokesperson for Xiaomi responded to the Lithuanian report on September 22 last year: “Xiaomi has never and will never restrict or prevent any personal behavior of users, such as searching, talking, browsing the web or using third-party communication software.” The firm also said that Xiaomi “will not review users’ communication information” and “fully respect and protect the legal rights of all users,” adding that Xiaomi‘s smartphone complies with the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
BSI, the German agency, carried out its own three and a half-month investigation following Lithuania’s report, concluding that it did not find any evidence of censorship functions in the mobile phones manufactured by Xiaomi.
At present, Xiaomi smartphones occupy a leading position in the European market. According to market research organization Canalys, Xiaomi ranked second in the European smartphone market in the third quarter of 2021, and was the top Chinese smartphone company in terms of European sales volume. The firm added, “Xiaomi has always attached importance to the privacy and safety of customers, and promises to operate its business in a transparent and responsible manner. Users, regulators and other stakeholders will be welcome to communicate with Xiaomi in the future.”