Berlin/Beijing – After Belgium and Lithuania, Germany, a leading European country, has decided to investigate censorship software of Chinese manufactured smartphones. The move comes after Lithuania’s defence ministry released a report earlier this week that found a dormant censorship configuration in the 5G enabled Chinese manufactured smartphones. The reports advise the consumers not to buy these phones or throw them away if they have bought them.
Leaders of prominent parties, the SPD and CDU in Germany, have referred to the report of Lithuania to raise the issue about Chinese smartphones. Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has decided to initiate a probe on Chinese smartphones as told by a spokesperson of BSI to a German news agency. The BSI also said that Chinese smartphones are not widely used in Germany’s security or any other sensitive areas.
A report released by Lithuania’s Defence Ministry said that flaws were found in the smartphones manufactured by Huawei, One Plus and Xiaomi. According to the Lithuanian National Cybersecurity Centre report, Xiaomi’s model MI10T5G has built-in censorship software that censors terms like Free Tibet, Long Live Taiwan Independence, Democracy Movement. The phone data is being sent to a server in Singapore from Xiaomi’s smartphones. In addition to Xiaomi, Huawei’s smartphones are also reported to have a security flaw.
Based on the Lithuanian report, smartphones from companies such as Xiaomi, Huawei and One Plus will be investigated. Germany’s decision has prompted a strong reaction from the Chinese media. Citing technology experts, Global Times, the government mouthpiece, warned that efforts to investigate Chinese smartphones would be in vain. The Chinese spokesman also accused Germany’s decision of supporting Lithuania to be politically motivated.
Germany’s decision, being a leading European country to investigate Chinese smartphones, is quite significant. Germany is known to be China’s largest trading partner and ally in Europe. Earlier, it was reported that Germany has busted many anti-China actions and provisions of the European Union. However, Germany is unhappy with the Coronavirus pandemic, atrocities against the Uyghurs, and the issue of Taiwan and hence the German leadership has begun to take a stand against China. The decision to investigate Chinese smartphones seems to be part of the same policy.