New Delhi: Indian government on Monday has taken strong cognizance on the prevalance of popular apps developed by the Chinese.
A total of 59 apps such as TikTok, UC Browser, WeChat and others are banned by the ministry of Information and technology.
The ministry attributed the reason to flaws in security and concerns over privacy.
The government notification was headlined "Government Bans 59 mobile apps which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,"
"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," added the release.
The ministry shared the following reasons for the ban:
1. The decision has been made with reference to data security and privacy of 130 crore Indians.
2. The banned apps pose elements that are hostile to national security and defence of India.
3. CERT-IN has received representations from citizens stating the risk to privacy and breach of privacy.
4. Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre and the Ministry of Home Affairs have shared a list of recommendations for blocking the malicious apps.
According to the notification dated 29th June 2020, app-stores including those operated by Android and Apple are likely to take some time to act on them. Users of the apps in India will not be able to use them once the process of deactivation begins.
The apps that have been banned are TikTok, Shareit, Kwai, UC Browser, Baidu map, Shein, Clash of Kings, DU battery saver, Helo, Likee, YouCam makeup, Mi Community, CM Browers, Virus Cleaner, APUS Browser, ROMWE, Club Factory, Newsdog, Beutry Plus, WeChat, UC News, QQ Mail, Weibo, Xender, QQ Music, QQ Newsfeed, Bigo Live, SelfieCity, Mail Master, Parallel Space, Mi Video Call – Xiaomi, WeSync, ES File Explorer, Viva Video – QU Video Inc, Meitu, Vigo Video, New Video Status, DU Recorder, Vault- Hide, Cache Cleaner DU App studio, DU Cleaner, DU Browser, Hago Play With New Friends, Cam Scanner, Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile, Wonder Camera, Photo Wonder, QQ Player, We Meet, Sweet Selfie, Baidu Translate, Vmate, QQ International, QQ Security Center, QQ Launcher, U Video, V fly Status Video, Mobile Legends, and DU Privacy.
Nikhil Gandhi, Head for TikTok in India shared an update after the government announcement. In a tweet, TikTok said it continued to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian laws and has not shared any information of Indian users with any foreign government, incuding the Chinese government. "Further, if we are requested to in the future, we would not do so. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity."
The clarification further added, "TikTok has demorcatized the internet by making it available in 14 Indian langunages, with hundreds of millions of users, artists, story-tellers, educators and performers depending on it for their livelihood, many of whom are first time internet users."