Back in September, the Lithuanian National Cyber Security Centre urged citizens not to use Xiaomi’s products. The reason, the Lithuanian NCSC said at the time, was that Xiaomi smartphones have “censorship capabilities”. Defense Deputy Minister Margiris Abukevicius said that consumers should refrain from purchasing Chinese smartphones, and throw out the ones they already have. I investigated and found evidence to suggest that the Lithuania NCSC had found Xiaomi’s ad filtering service — not a censorship list. Now the BSI (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik), the German federal cybersecurity watchdog, has said that it has found no evidence of censorship on Xiaomi’s smartphones.
“As a result, the BSI was unable to identify any anomalies that would require further investigation or other measures,” a BSI spokesperson said to Reuters. The BSI started its investigation several months ago after the Lithuanian NCSC’s accusations.
The Lithuanian government had accused Xiaomi of not only being capable of censoring users of Xiaomi smartphones but of actively censoring users. In its report, it said that “when it is determined that such content contains keywords from the list, the device blocks this content. It is thought that this functionality can pose potential threats to the free availability of information.”
It’s not completely clear what the Lithuanian NCSC found in its investigation in order to come to this conclusion. When we reached out for more information after publishing our article, the NCSC told us that they would respond in a week. However, the NCSC never responded by the deadline that it had given us. At the time, Xiaomi provided the following statement:
“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. Xiaomi fully respects and protects the legal rights of all users.”
It is not known at this time whether the NCSC intends on making a statement regarding the BSI’s findings.