Amid border tensions with China, the government on Monday banned 59 mobile apps including Tik Tok, UC Browser and other Chinese apps “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity and defence” of the country.
All the apps banned have some preferential Chinese interest and majority have parent Chinese companies.
The Ministry of Information Technology said in a release that it has decided to block 59 apps in view of the information available “they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order”.
Law, Electronics and Information Technology Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that government has banned apps for safety, security, defence, sovereignty and integrity of India.
“For safety, security, defence, sovereignty & integrity of India and to protect data & privacy of people of India the Government has banned 59 mobile apps. Jai Hind!,” he said in a tweet.
A senior official at the IT ministry said the prime reason to block the apps under section 69 A of Information Technology Act is to stop the violation and threat to the security of the state and public order and to plug the data leaks.
“Almost all of them have some preferential Chinese interest. Few are from countries like Singapore or Hongkong. However, the majority have parent companies which are Chinese,” the official said.
The release said that 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. At the same time, there have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians,” said the release.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps, the release said.
This Ministry 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.
“This 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” the release said.
The apps which 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 and Hago Play With New Friends,
The banned apps also include 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