Lithuania’s Defence Ministry have asked citizens not to buy Chinese mobile phones and discard any they might already have after a government report claimed they may have censorship capabilities installed.
A report by Lithuania’s cybersecurity body on Tuesday said phones made by Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi have built-in censorship tools to recognize various terms, including “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence” and “democracy movement,” according to a report by Politico Europe.
The censorship software in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone had been switched off in the “European Union region” but can be switched on remotely at any time, the report by the Lithuanian Defense Ministry’s National Cyber Security Center said.
“Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible,” said Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius.
Relations between Lithuania and China have soured recently as Beijing recalled its ambassador in August after Vilnius decided to set up a new diplomatic office in Taiwan.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and part of the country, a claimed disputed internationally.