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Consumers Told To Throw Away Chinese Smartphones

European consumers are being told to throw away their Chinese smart phones and avoid buying new ones due to spyware and concerns over privacy.

Brands that are of concern are Oppo, Realme, Vivo, Huawei and of huge concern are Xiaomi products.

Last night Lithuania’s Defence Ministry said “Our recommendation is to not buy new Chinese phones, and to get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible”.

Defence Deputy Minister Margiris Abukevicius was scathing of Chinese brands who he claims are a high risk to EU Countries.

He claimed that one Xiaomi phone had built-in censorship tools while another Huawei model believed to be an Oppo smartphone security flaws.

“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.”

Huawei responded immediately claiming that no user data is sent externally and Xiaomi said it does not censor communications.

These claims were quickly dismissed after it was discovered that one Xiaomi’s flagship smartphone the Mi 10T 5G phone was found to have software that could detect and censor terms including “Free Tibet”, “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement”, the report said.

Xiaomi products are distributed by Panmi in Australia, they are also selling electric bikes and smartphones directly from their own web site.

By selling direct Chinese brands can sell models that have not been certified for Australian networks.

The Lithuanian Defence Ministry highlighted more than 449 terms that could be censored by the Xiaomi phone’s system apps, including the default internet browser.

EU Countries and have moved to switch off this capability but the report argued it could be remotely activated at any time.

The EU research also found the Xiaomi device was transferring encrypted phone usage data to a server in Singapore.

“This is important not only to Lithuania but to all countries which use Xiaomi equipment,” the Centre said.

The report also highlighted a flaw in Huawei’s P40 5G phone, which put users at risk of cyber-security breaches.

“The official Huawei application store AppGallery directs users to third-party e-stores where some of the applications have been assessed by anti-virus programs as malicious or infected with viruses,” a joint statement by the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence and its National Cyber Security Centre said.

The report comes as tensions between Lithuania and China are rising.

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