Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Red flag for Chinese phones

Lithuania’s Defence Ministry warns his nation’s citizens to throw away Chinese phones and not buy new ones.

The country’s National Cyber Security Centre tested Chinese made 5G mobiles. It then reported claims one Xiaomi phone had built-in censorship tools and a Huawei handset had security flaws.

Ars Technica reports:

"The Xiaomi phone includes software modules specifically designed to leak data to Chinese authorities and to censor media related to topics the Chinese government considers sensitive.

The Huawei phone replaces the standard Google Play application store with third-party substitutes the NCSC found to harbour sketchy, potentially malicious repackaging of common applications.”


Both companies denied the claims. But we all know they would do that regardless of any merit.

Not surprising


A fuss over Chinese made phones was always going to happen.

The ball started rolling in 2018. For years before 2018 there were whispers circulating about Huawei’s ability to spy on conversations passing through its network equipment. Arguments ranged from rational and plausible to downright fanciful.

Whether any spying took place was immaterial. Western governments were concerned that critical network infrastructure could become a Chinese-owned monopoly. Or at least dominated by Huawei to the point where it might as well be a monopoly.

The giant had to be stopped before it was unstoppable.

Handsets


With Huawei network equipment in the spotlight, attention turned to phone handsets. These also had spying potential.

It didn’t help that the US was fighting a trade war with China.

When this was going on, it was clear that if Huawei is a problem, you have to consider other Chinese network equipment and phone makers as risky. And while we are looking in that direction, questions were asked about Chinese factories making phones for western brands.

The jury remains out on whether Huawei is spying on customers.

Chinese risk


If you don’t think China poses a cybersecurity risk, you haven’t been paying enough attention. There’s a Wikipedia page looking at the issue.

It may not be related to these risks, but Chinese phones have taken a smaller share of New Zealand sales in recent years. Samsung and Apple continue to dominate.

IDC reports that for the first quarter of 2021 they accounted for 84 percent of the market. That figure measures units. If IDC measured dollars, the top pair would be more than 90 percent of the market.

Regardless of cybersecurity fears, readers would be well advised to stay away from Xiaomi and its regularly updated Chinese government approved blocklist of sites.

If nothing else, the company gets reports on your browsing activity. Your activity could end up on a database and land you in trouble if, say, you travelled to China.

Red flag for Chinese phones was first posted at billbennett.co.nz.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Philip Temple: Hang On A Minute, Mate
Peter Dunne quietly omits some salient facts when arguing for retention of MMP’s coat-tailing provision that allows a party to add list seats if it wins one electorate and achieves more than 1% or so of the party vote... More>>


Cheap Grace And Climate Change: Australia And COP26

It was not for everybody, but the shock advertising tactics of the Australian comedian Dan Ilic made an appropriate point. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a famed coal hugger, has vacillated about whether to even go to the climate conference in Glasgow. Having himself turned the country’s prime ministerial office into an extended advertising agency, Ilic was speaking his language... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Funeral Rites For COVID Zero
It was such a noble public health dream, even if rather hazy to begin with. Run down SARS-CoV-2. Suppress it. Crush it. Or just “flatten the curve”, which could have meant versions of all the above. This created a climate of numerical sensitivity: a few case infections here, a few cases there, would warrant immediate, sharp lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, the closure of all non-vital service outlets... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>



Our Man In Washington: Morrison’s Tour Of Deception

It was startling and even shocking. Away from the thrust and cut of domestic politics, not to mention noisy discord within his government’s ranks, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could breathe a sign of relief. Perhaps no one would notice in Washington that Australia remains prehistoric in approaching climate change relative to its counterparts... More>>



Binoy Kampmark: Melbourne Quake: Shaken, Not Stirred

It began just after a news interview. Time: a quarter past nine. Morning of September 22, and yet to take a sip from the brewed Turkish coffee, its light thin surface foam inviting. The Australian city of Melbourne in its sixth lockdown, its residents fatigued and ravaged by regulations. Rising COVID-19 numbers, seemingly inexorable... More>>