NEW DELHI, Jun 30, 2020, DNA India. A day after the central government banned TikTok, a popular short video-sharing platform, and 58 other Chinese mobile apps in the country citing security reasons, the applications were removed from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store in India, DNA India reported.
All 59 apps with Chinese links that were listed by the Centre in its ban order were removed from the online app stores, including TikTok, Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Mi Video Call – Xiaomi, Vigo Video as well as e-commerce platforms like Club Factory and Shein and games like Clash of Kings.
In an order issued 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, the Ministry of Information Technology said it has decided to block 59 apps in view of the emergent nature of threats.
These apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order,” the government said in its order.
The move to ban the apps with Chinese links comes in the backdrop of a violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh’s Galwan valley weeks ago, which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and reported casualties among.43 Chinese soldiers.
Following the India-China skirmishes in the Galwan valley on June 15, tensions have exacerbated manifold between the two countries with Indian campaigns about boycotting Chinese products gaining rapid popularity in the mainstream.
Although numerous Indian government officials had earlier said that the border tensions will not impact trade between India and China, they have also been urging the citizens to be “vocal about local” and prefer indigenous alternatives to foreign, especially Chinese, brands.
In the following days, the Centre also took action cancelling several contracts with Chinese firms in sectors like railway and telecom, supposedly aimed at preventing Chinese entry into strategic markets in India.
Now, it has culminated into India banning Chinese apps over “raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians”.
The Ministry of Information Technology said that it has received several reports about the ‘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”.
This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure the safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace, the government order explained.
Among the banned apps, TikTok has over 200 million users in India, as it had become especially popular in suburban India launching several people into overnight online fame. They had even carefully curated a community surrounding it and catered to demands relating to personalities. E-commerce platforms like Club Factory and Shein are also widely popular in India. CamScanner and SHAREit were two other popular utility apps that people widely used for scanning documents and rapid sharing of files, respectively.