India bans TikTok among 59 apps, mostly Chinese

Says prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity of India; also raises data mining and privacy concerns

India bans TikTok among 59 apps, mostly Chinese

File photo

Tribune Web Desk
Chandigarh, June 29

The central government banned 59 mostly-Chinese apps on Monday saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity, and defence of India.

The press release issued by the Ministry of Information Technology issued a list of apps that included social media apps Tiktok, WeChat and browser UC Browser.

“There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy 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 lndia,” the press release said.

The press release said the mining of this data posed a threat to India’s sovereignty and integrity and also raised privacy concerns.

“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 press release said.

Incidentally, the development comes at a time of escalating tensions between New Delhi and Beijing, in particular after over 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Ladakh earlier this month.   

Here's the full text of the press release

‘The Ministry of Information Technology invoking its 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 detected to block 59 apps since in view of information available that they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of lndia, defence of India, security of state and public order.

Over the last few years, lndia has emerged as a leading innovator when it comes to technological advancements and a primary market in the digital space.

There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy 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. Thus Ministry has also received many representations raisig concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps. The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERTJN) has also received many representations from czens regarding security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues. Likewise, there have been Similaf bipartisan concerns. flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India. 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.

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. These apps are listed in the attached appendix.

This move will safeguard the interests of crores of lndian mobile and Internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.’

The list of apps that the central government has banned.

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