Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) has released a statement that it has found built-in censorship tools in Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G smartphones sold in that country.
According to Taiwanese experts, MiAdBlacklisConfigur is available on globalapi.ad.xiaomi.com servers for Xiaomi smartphones using seven standard applications. The purpose of this program is to censor requests and block links to sites that Beijing does not like. For example, the blocking occurs on requests with the words “Taiwan independence”, “liberate Tibet”, “Tiananmen Square events” and other requests.
Our tests showed that the program [MiAdBlacklisConfigur] can be downloaded from the servers of globalapi.ad.xiaomi.com through seven built-in applications on the Mi 10T 5G smartphone. It targets a long list of politically sensitive terms and can block smartphones from navigating to relevant websites. These applications can also transmit the user’s web search history to servers in Beijing. We will continue our investigations to determine if Xiaomi Taiwan has compromised the interests of Taiwanese users by invading their privacy. We will inform the relevant authorities if the company violates the rules applied by other administrative authorities.
For its part, Xiaomi has stated that it has never restricted and is not going to block requests, collect search data, prohibit viewing any pages or using third-party communication platforms and software. According to Xiaomi’s official position, MiAdBlacklistConfig program manages paid ads for Xiaomi apps. In addition, MiAdBlacklistConfig protects users from inappropriate content such as hate speech or images that might be offensive to local users. Such software is widely used by smartphone manufacturers and social media platforms, Xiaomi claims.
Last September, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense urged to throw away Xiaomi phones and other Chinese smartphones and not buy new ones for the same reason.