China’s leading smartphone manufacturing company Xiaomi (based on the number of domestic shipments it makes per year) is currently been investigated by the Taiwanese government. The probe is being conducted to find out whether Xiaomi is posing any cyber security threat; reports are expected to be available within the next three months.
It’s, however, not yet clear whether this investigation will result in ban for the low-end smartphones marketed by Xiaomi in Taiwan.
There are certain Xiaomi smartphones that send users’ data automatically to the company’s Beijing server; here, it should be noted that Xiaomi has its headquarters in Beijing. This working procedure of the phones makes them susceptible to security lapses; at least the Taiwanese government is thinking so. This was revealed on a post published on the official website of the country’s executive branch.
The probe conducted by the Taiwanese government reminds us about the kind of scrutiny Chinese tech firms undergo in foreign lands as governments of those countries are becoming more and more wary of possible cyber security threats from the second-largest economy in the world. The Chinese government and the companies of the country are often accused of industrial and cyber spying.
One thing that Taiwan, which is regarded as a breakaway province by China, has to keep in mind is that it is dependent on the mainland in a number of areas. Beijing, on the other hand, is arguing that expansion of economic ties is allowing China to have a strong impact on the intensely democratic politics of the island.
The statement published on executive branch’s official website also informed that Line, which is a widely used Japanese proprietary application for instant messaging on personal computers and smartphones (the app is owned by the South Korean company Naver Corp), will no more be accessible on computers used for government works. This step has also been taken because of security concerns.
When talking to Reuters in Tokyo, a Line spokesperson said that currently the company is probing the matter, but was not ready to provide any more details. Xiaomi when reached also refused to comment.
Recently, Xiaomi received a lot of criticism for allowing unauthorized data access; this forced the smartphone manufacturing company to use an upgraded version of the operating system it was using originally. The new version of the OS gave users the right to refuse their Xiaomi phones the authority of collecting information from the address books.