New Delhi: In the wake of ongoing stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh with Chinese PLA (People Liberation Army), the Narendra Modi-led government on Monday put a ban on 59 apps including TikTok and WeChat. Also Read – From TikTok to WeChat, UC Browser to Cam Scanner, Modi Govt Bans 59 Chinese Apps to ‘Ensure Safety of Indian Cyberspace’ | Full List of Banned Apps Here
This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said in the wake of an unprovoked attack by the China’s PLA on the Indian Army, this is a welcome decision.
“We welcome the decision to ban Chinese apps. In light of the grave intrusion of our territory and the unprovoked attack on our armed forces by the Chinese army, we expect our government to take more substantial and effective measures,” Patel said on Twitter.
Why the Govt decided to ban 59 Chinese apps?
These measures have been undertaken since there is credible information that these apps are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order. The decision has been taken in a bid to safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile users.
“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,” said the government.
Notably, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had received 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 unauthorised 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 statement issued by the ministry read.
The ban comes days after Indian intelligence agencies red flagged these Chinese apps over safety and privacy issues of users. The government needs to either block access to these apps or advise people to stop their use, according to the intel inputs, said the agencies.
The recommendations of the intelligence agencies have backing of the National Security Council Secretariat which determined that certain China-linked applications could be detrimental to the country’s security, said the report citing an unnamed government official.
How it Will Affect Indian Users?
Some apps on the banned list are widely popular among Indians. TikTok (one of the banned apps) has more than 100 million active users in India. TikTok was the only source of income for many users.
Besides, many of these apps such as UC News and others have offices and employees in India, hence following the ban, scores of jobs could be at stake.
Other Chinese apps in the banned list like Club Factory, SHAREit, Likee, Mi Video Call (Xiaomi), Weibo, Baidu, Bigo Live are also immensely popular, mainly in the heartland.