While the Lithuanian and Taiwanese authorities assure the contrary, the German federal cybersecurity watchdog announces that it has found no evidence of the presence of a censorship function in Xiaomi smartphones. In his view, no thorough investigation of the manufacturer is necessary.
This is a statement that risks reshuffling the cards in the case of Xiaomi’s censorship systems. Indeed, the BSI, the German Federal Office in charge of cybersecurity, assured our colleagues from the Reuters press agency that there is no evidence of the existence of censorship functions within Xiaomi smartphones.
According to the government agency, there is therefore no reason to conduct an in-depth investigation of the manufacturer. “As a result, the BSI has not been able to identify any anomalies which would require further investigation or other action ”, BSI spokesperson said in a statement released this Thursday, January 13, 2021.
As a reminder in September 2021, the Lithuanian authorities called on their fellow citizens to no longer buy Chinese smartphones, and more specifically devices manufactured by Xiaomi. The reason ? The presence of an integrated censorship system in the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G, which would block access to websites that refer to keywords sensitive to the Chinese government. This list included notions such as the “Liberation of Tibet”, “Taiwan’s independence” or even “Tiananmen Square”.
Lithuania and Taiwan see the censorship system, Germany does not
After statements by the Lithuanian cybersecurity body, BSI announced the technical review of a smartphone manufactured by Xiaomi Corp. The goal being to verify if the accusations of Lithuania were indeed founded. The spokesperson had not provided further details on the type of review carried out by the agency. It will therefore have taken more than four months to obtain the verdict of the BSI.
It should also be noted that the BSI’s announcement comes when experts appointed by the Taiwanese government have just confirmed the exact opposite. According to their investigations, a censorship system is indeed present in the Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G sold in the country. “Judging by the test results; we will continue our investigations to determine whether Xiaomi Taiwan has compromised the interests of Taiwanese users by invading their privacy ”, assured these specialists. So who is wrong? Who is right ? It’s a safe bet that this file is far from over.