Government of India bans 59 Chinese apps including Tik Tok for engaging in activities detrimental to sovereignty and integrity of India

    29-Jun-2020   
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The Ministry of Electronics & IT says that the move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and Internet users as the decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.
 
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In a significant move, Indian government has banned 59 Chinese apps, including Tik-Tok, UC Browser, ShareIt, etc. The statement from the Ministry of Electronics & IT announcing the ban says the apps are “engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. The banning of these apps is also seen as a stern message to any entity that tries to fiddle with the security and social order of the country.
 
The Ministry of Information Technology, invoked it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act to order the ban on these apps. The Ministry statement further says that in view of the emergent nature of threats, it has decided to block the 59 apps based on the information that they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.
 
"... 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", says the statement.
 
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs had also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps. The Ministry had also received many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps.
 
 
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List apps banned by  Ministry of Electronics & IT
 
Further, the Ministry informed that Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) received many representations and concerns from citizens, public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament, regarding security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues. "There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against Apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens", notes the statement.
 
"On the basis of these and upon receiving of recent credible inputs that such Apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices.", says the statement noting that the move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and Internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.
 
In mid-June, Indian intelligence agencies has asked government to block 52 Chinese mobile apps including Zoom, TikTok, UC browser, Xender, SHAREit, Clean-master and had advised people to stop using them over concerns that these weren’t safe and also for extracting large amount of data outside India. 
 
The National Security Council Secretariat had backed the recommendation to block these mobile apps as it opined that these apps could be detrimental to India’s security. In April, Home Ministry had issued an advisory on use of Zoom app for video conferencing based on the recommendation of Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-in). There were consistent demands to ban Tik-Tok for lack of filtering and monitoring of anti-National and Hinduphobic content.