Centre blocks 59 apps including TikTok, UC Browser; decision aimed at protecting Indians’ data, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including the highly popular Tiktok and UC browsers, stating that they were precursors to the country’s sovereignty, integrity and security.

The ban, which comes against the backdrop of the current standoff with Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, is also applicable to WeChat and Bigo Live. Apps that have been banned include Halo, Like, CamScanner, Viggo Video, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platform Club Factory and Sheen. This is the most important step against Chinese technology companies of India.

Here is the complete list of apps that have been banned –

The Ministry of Information Technology said in a statement that it has received numerous complaints from various sources, including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms, including “stealing data into servers in an unauthorized manner and securing Broadcast, which has locations. Outside India ”.

“The compilation of these figures, mining by hostile elements for India’s national security and defense and its framework, which ultimately imposes on India’s sovereignty and integrity, is a matter of deep and urgent concern that needs emergency measures,” the statement said.

A formal order phone companies are being asked to block applications. TikTok (which has more than 200 million users in India), Like and Vigo Video are popular short video production platforms, while Club Factory and Sheen are e-commerce platforms that expand their presence to compete with larger rivals such as Myntra Were staying.

WeChat is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging and social media app that rivals WhatsApp.

CamScanner is a popular app that allows users to scan images and share them.

The SHAREit app allows users to share files between devices, while Halo – a social media platform – is owned by Tytocke’s parent firm ByteDance.

Alibaba’s UC Browser is a mobile Internet browser that has been available in India since 2009. It claimed to register 1.1 billion user downloads worldwide (excluding China) in September 2019, with half of its global share being from India. At that time the country was also claimed to have 130 million monthly active users. The government has also banned Chinese handset maker Xiaomi’s app, which includes the Mi community and Mi video calls. Xiaomi is the largest handset brand in India.

The IT Ministry said that it has invoked its power under Section 69A of the IT Act and the Rules, and decided to block the 59 apps in view of the available information, they are “engaged in activities which are sovereign of India. And are prejudicial to integrity, protecting India, the security of the state and public order ”.

The “move” will protect the interests of crores of Indian mobile and Internet users. This decision is a targeted step to ensure the security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.

Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said –

The Indian Cyber ​​Crime Coordination Center, Ministry of Home Affairs, has also sent a full recommendation to block these malicious apps, the statement said, adding that there has been a strong anarchy in the public space, causing damage to India’s sovereignty of apps. Strict action should be taken against it as well as privacy of citizens. Similarly, according to the press release of the ministry, there are bipartisan concerns similar to flag hoisting by public representatives both outside and inside Parliament.

“On the basis of these and receiving recent reliable inputs that such apps pose a threat to India’s sovereignty and integrity, the Government of India prohibited the use of certain apps used in mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices Has decided. ” “This couple.

The statement said, “There are increasing concerns about the aspects related to data security and the security of the privacy of 130 crore Indians. Recently it has been noted that such concerns also threaten the sovereignty and security of our country.” is.”

Comments from companies affected by the ban could not be received immediately.

In 2015–19, Chinese investors, including Alibaba, Tencent, TR Capital and Hillhouse Capital, invested US $ 5.5 billion in Indian start-ups, according to Venture Intelligence, which monitors private equity, venture capital, M&A transactions and valuations in India. Has invested more than.

Political responses

Opposition party leaders welcomed the government’s move to ban Chinese apps, but insisted it needed to do more.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted –

In one such incident, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said –

“I think the central government is late to take this step. These mobile applications have already spread ‘infection’,” Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren was quoted as saying by ANI.

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