Amid the ongoing border tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control, the Government of India has now decided to ban 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser, Helo, Like, WeChat and others. According to the IT Ministry, these apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
The order issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said, “This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure the safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.”
The IT Ministry banned the apps using section 69A of the Information Technology Act. The press release announcing the ban stated, “The Ministry of Information Technology, invoking it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 59 apps since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
India has prohibited the following apps:
As per the order of the Indian government, “Over the last few years, India has emerged as a leading innovator when it comes to technological advancements and a primary market in the digital space. At the same time, there have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country. The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India. The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.”
“The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps. This Ministry has also received many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps. The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received many representations from citizens regarding security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues,” the order further stated.