China-Handys haben eine (heimlich) eingebaute Zensur-Funktion – das musst du wissen

© EPA/EPA Das Android-Smartphone Xiaomi Mi 9 bei der Lancierung, 2019. Nun empfehlen europäische Sicherheitsexperten, auf den Kauf solcher Geräte zu verzichten. In Europa verkaufte Handys sollen Begriffe wie «Freies Tibet» oder «Demokratiebewegung» zensieren können.

Xiaomi-Smartphones werden in Reviews wegen ihrer leistungsfähigen Hardware zu tiefen Preisen gerühmt. Doch nun empfehlen europäische IT-Sicherheitsexperten, die Hände davon zu lassen.

Was haben «Freies Tibet», «Es lebe die Unabhängigkeit Taiwans» und «Demokratiebewegung» gemeinsam?

Es sind Begriffe, die das Regime in Peking hasst und die deswegen der staatlichen Zensur zum Opfer fallen. Chinas Parteidiktatur betreibt ein rigoroses Internet-Filtersystem, auch bekannt als The Great Firewall. Ziel ist es, regimekritische Informationen von der Bevölkerung fernzuhalten.

Was Konsumentinnen und Konsumenten in Europa bislang nicht wussten: Die chinesische Zensur ist auch in Smartphones eingebaut, die hierzulande verkauft werden.

Was wurde entdeckt?

Flaggschiff-Smartphones, die vom Techgiganten Xiaomi verkauft werden, haben eine eingebaute Filter-Funktion, um Begriffe zu erkennen und zu zensieren. Davor warnte Litauens staatliche Cybersicherheitsbehörde am Dienstag.

IT-Sicherheitsexperten des nordosteuropäischen Staates haben unter anderem das Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G, ein aktuelles Top-Smartphone des Herstellers, unter die Lupe genommen, wie die Nachrichtenagentur Reuters berichtet. Dabei wurde die Zensur-Software entdeckt und festgestellt, dass sie für die «Region der Europäischen Union» ausgeschaltet war. Sie könne aber jederzeit aus der Ferne aktiviert werden.

Als das Nationale Cybersicherheitszentrum des litauischen Verteidigungsministeriums am Dienstag den entsprechenden Untersuchungsbericht vorstellte, fand der stellvertretende Verteidigungsminister deutliche Worte.

«Unsere Empfehlung ist, keine neuen chinesischen Handys zu kaufen und die bereits gekauften so schnell wie möglich loszuwerden.» //Margiris Abukevicius, Verteidigungsminister

Die Liste der Begriffe, die von den System-Apps des Xiaomi-Smartphones zensiert werden könnten, einschliesslich des Standard-Internetbrowsers, umfasse derzeit 449 Wörter auf Chinesisch und werde kontinuierlich aktualisiert.

«Dies ist nicht nur für Litauen wichtig, sondern für alle Länder, die Xiaomi-Hardware verwenden.»

Weiter besagt der Bericht der litauischen Cyber-Security-Experten, dass das Xiaomi-Smartphone verschlüsselte Nutzungsdaten an einen Server in Singapur sende.

Eine Sicherheitslücke sei auch im 5G-Smartphone P40 des chinesischen Herstellers Huawei gefunden worden, aber keine im untersuchten Gerät des Konkurrenten OnePlus.

In einer Reaktion liess Huaweis Vertreter im Baltikum daraufhin verlauten, dass die eigenen Smartphones keine Benutzerdaten an externe Stellen übermitteln würden.

Was steckt dahinter?

Die Beziehungen zwischen Litauen und China hatten sich in letzter Zeit verschlechtert, schreibt Reuters. China verlangte letzten Monat, dass Litauen seinen Botschafter in Peking abziehen solle und kündigte an, seinen Gesandten in Vilnius zurückrufen zu wollen. Grund dafür war, dass Taiwan angekündigt hatte, seine diplomatische Vertretung in Litauen «Taiwanesisches Repräsentationsbüro» zu nennen.

Taiwanesische Botschaften in Europa und den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika verwendeten den Namen der Stadt Taipeh und «vermeiden einen Verweis auf die Insel selbst, die China als eigenes Territorium beansprucht».

Der Sicherheitsberater von US-Präsident Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan, sprach letzte Woche mit der litauischen Premierministerin Ingrida Simonyte und betonte, das Land angesichts des von China ausgeübten Drucks zu unterstützen.

Was sagt Xiaomi?

Auf eine Anfrage von Reuters hatte das chinesische Unternehmen gemäss Bericht nicht reagiert.

watson hat nachgehakt und um eine Stellungnahme gebeten. Ein Xiaomi-Sprecher teilt daraufhin mit:

«Die Geräte von Xiaomi zensieren keine Kommunikation mit oder von ihren Nutzern. Xiaomi hat und wird niemals persönliche Aktivitäten seiner Smartphone-Nutzer einschränken oder unterbinden, wie z.B. das Suchen, Anrufen, Surfen im Internet oder die Verwendung von Drittanbieter-Kommunikationssoftware. Xiaomi respektiert und schützt die gesetzlichen Rechte seiner Nutzer in vollem Umfang. Xiaomi erfüllt die Allgemeine Datenschutzverordnung der Europäischen Union (GDPR).»

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