Belgium’s intelligence services have issued a spy-risk warning against three Chinese smartphone brands, L’Echo and De Tijd newspapers reported on Saturday.
Smartphones produced by Xiaomi, Oppo and OnePlus are very popular among Belgian consumers, but according to State Security Spokesperson Ingrid Van Daele, the intelligence services wish to draw consumers’ attention to the potential threat of espionage when they are used, even if no concrete cases have been identified.
“We therefore advise them to be vigilant,” Ms. Van Daele said.
L’Echo and De Tijd also quote Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD) as saying in response to a query from Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) parliamentarian Michael Freilich that there is a “systematic and deep interaction between these companies and the Chinese State.”
According to Ms. Van Daele, “in addition to the confusion between these companies and the Chinese authorities, other countries (namely the Netherlands and the United States) have already expressed concerns about Chinese telecoms companies and the risks in terms of private life and national security.”
The interdependence between these companies and their government’s intelligence and security services is included in national law, according to Mrs. Van Daele. “For example, the Chinese law on national intelligence obliges all Chinese companies to collaborate with the intelligence services,” she explained.
There was no immediate reaction from OnePlus and Xiaomi.
Oppo’s Belgian spokesman Dries Cludts said the firm was active in over 40 countries the world over and maintained positive relations with governments and decision-makers in the countries where it is present. “We work in compliance with all local laws and regulations,” he said.
The Brussels Times