Lithuania looks to ban ‘untrustworthy’ phones after Chinese censorship concerns

Lithuania’s Defence Ministry is drafting laws to ban state establishments from buying “untrustworthy” gear, after discovering a censoring characteristic in a Chinese language smartphone firm’s flagship cellphone, Margiris Abukevicius, deputy minister on the Defence Ministry mentioned.

The censoring functionality in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G cellphone software program has been turned off for the “European Union area” however might be turned on remotely at any time, the nation’s Nationwide Cyber Safety Centre mentioned in a report on Tuesday.

A Xiaomi spokesman mentioned in a press release despatched to Reuters on Wednesday its system “doesn’t censor communications to or from its customers.”

The Defence Ministry is now drafting the laws to ban public establishments from procuring “untrustworthy” gear, together with smartphones, with a view to presenting it to the parliament for debate by the tip of this 12 months, Abukevicius advised Reuters.

“It is fairly apparent that penalties of the laws can be much like these of the sooner laws on 5G gear,” he mentioned.

Chinese language telecommunications big Huawei protested in Could as Lithuanian parliament decreed solely gear authorised by the federal government on nationwide safety grounds might be used for subsequent technology 5G community within the nation.

“It isn’t information that Lithuania has made a political choice to cooperate in expertise with NATO and EU nations, that are democratic and have a rule of legislation,” Abukevicius mentioned.

The Nationwide Cyber Safety Centre report mentioned phrases doubtlessly topic to censorship by the Xiaomi cellphone’s system apps, such because the default web browser, included “Free Tibet,” “Lengthy stay Taiwan independence” and “democracy motion.”

Shares of Xiaomi Corp fell practically 5 per cent to HK$21.95 on Wednesday, their greatest each day proportion drop since July 27.

China demanded final month that Lithuania withdraw its ambassador in Beijing and recalled its envoy to Vilnius after Taiwan introduced that its mission in Lithuania can be referred to as the Taiwanese Consultant Workplace.

Taiwanese missions in Europe and the USA use the identify of town Taipei, avoiding a reference to the island itself, which China claims as its personal territory.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan final week confused help to Lithuania’s prime minister Ingrida Simonyte within the face of stress from China. (Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius. Enhancing by Jane Merriman)

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