Lithuanian agency tells citizens to beware Chinese phones


A battle between a small Baltic state and one of the world’s foremost superpowers could have an effect on broader international relations.


Today, an unnamed author at BBC News reports about the ramifications of a technology fight that also has a political dimension.


Essentially, BBC News reports, Lithuania has advised residents to get rid of Chinese smartphones and avoid purchasing more, based on accusations that makers Xiaomi and Huawei are selling devices with some security problems, and in Xiaomi’s case, censorship.


The astounding allegation made by the Lithuanian National Cyber Security Centre is that Xiaomi’s phones have the ability to censor terms like “Free Tibet” and others related to the independence of the small island kingdom that China’s “One China” policy has sought to control, including in international negotiations.


In all, the Lithuanian office has identified 449 terms that could be subject to internal control of the devices.


In response, Xiaomi said it does not censor in this way, and that its devices are GDPR compliant.


“Xiaomi’s devices do not censor communications to or from its users,” a Xiaomi spokeswoman reportedly told the BBC. “Xiaomi has never and will never restrict or block any personal behaviours of our smartphone users, such as searching, calling, web browsing or the use of third-party communication software.”


As for Huawei, which has been a major flashpoint in international tech commerce, Lithuanian officials say its HP40 phone uses something called an AppGallery that directs users to a marketplace where some applications may have viruses and malware attached.


Digging deeper, we see that a rift between Lithuania and China has to do with Taiwan opening an office in the city of Vilnius that apparently angered the Chinese by using the name “Taiwan” outright.


In terms of the technology fight, we’ll see how this further impacts the adoption of Chinese devices worldwide