September 25, 2014 by ...
Xiaomi had a few problems with security issues that it failed to adequately address. Phones were covertly sending data to Beijing without user knowledge. This happened across southeast Asia and raised eyebrows. Xiaomi’s response did little to allay fears of such data breaches. The corporate reply was bland and their follow up even worse.
Now Taiwan is studying Xiaomi phones to assess just how bad their security flaws are. In addition, Taiwan would like to see if Xiaomi phones present a serious risk of used.
Here is an excerpt of those concerns,’
The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said that it has completed the testing of the two allegedly questionable mobile phones manufactured by Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi Corp, adding that it is scheduled to present a certification mechanism for information security by the end of next year.
The alleged security loopholes with the Chinese smartphones were exposed by the Finnish security company F-Secure Corp, which found that the smartphones’ built-in text-messaging application, MIUI, can send users’ information to the company’s servers in Beijing without their approval.’ Link
There are many issues at play, none the least of which is the political angst between China and Taiwan. China considers Taiwan a lost province and Taiwan does not agree. Consequently, Taiwan is keen to minimize any ‘threat’ it perceives from Beijing. Loads of Taiwanese walking around with hacked smartphones is one such risk.
Another issue is that Taiwan is currently seeking to arm itself in fear of the ‘China threat’. As such, it may be sending a message to Beijing, ‘Leave us alone or your products will not be welcome here.’
Choosing Xiaomi as the target of that message is an interesting choice. Countries such as the USA and others in Europe have typically attacked Chinese handset manufacturers Huawei and ZTE, but not Xiaomi as of yet.
This means that Taiwan could be ‘pulling a China’ and protecting local suppliers, but this argument sounds weak. There has been no real indication of this, other than the Xiaomi investigation.
In all likelihood, Taiwan is probably using a hybrid approach to warn Beijing to play nice or suffer the consequences.