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India bans 59 Chinese apps citing security concerns

The Indian government banned 59 apps developed by Chinese companies on Monday, including TikTok, UC Browser and Clash of Clans, among dozens of others, citing concerns regarding “security of state and public order”.

The two countries have been at loggerheads regarding border issues in the northern Indian territory of Ladakh and the situation has heated after an altercation led to 20 Indian soldiers losing their life. While the government has touted that the apps are being banned as they “pose a threat to sovereignty and integrity of India”, the reason for doing so are also political.

According to the statement released by the Ministry of Electronics & IT, complaints were made regarding the misuse of mobile app data, which was transmitted to servers outside of India, and this move is to “ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace”.

“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,” MEITY said. “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.”

The  Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre and Ministry of Home Affairs have also recommended that these apps should be banned.

The apps have been banned under section 69A of the Information Technology Act and Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.

“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. 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.”

Opposing the ban on apps, on Tuesday, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, Counselor Ji Rong, said, “India’s measure, selectively and discriminatorily aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security exceptions, and suspects of violating the WTO rules. It also goes against the general trend of international trade and e-commerce, and is not conducive to consumer interests and the market competition in India.”

“Related apps have a large number of users in India, have been operating strictly in accordance with Indian laws and regulations, and provide efficient and fast services for Indian consumers, creators and entrepreneurs. The ban will affect not only the employment of local Indian workers who support these apps, but also the interests of Indian users and the employment and livelihoods of many creators and entrepreneurs,” Ji Rong added.

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List of the 59 Chinese apps banned by India

What is shadowbanning and how to avoid it
  • TikTok
  • Shareit
  • Kwai
  • UC Browser
  • Baidu Map
  • Shein
  • Clash of Kings
  • DU battery saver
  • Helo
  • Likee
  • YouCam makeup
  • Mi Community
  • CM Browser
  • 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
  • Hago Play With New Friends
  • 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
  • DU Privacy

One of the most used apps of the lot, TikTok, suffered a huge blow with the ban as a significant percentage of their users and creators hail from India.

“The Government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications,” said Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok, India.

“TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government.”

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