India has banned TikTok, WeChat and many other Chinese apps

Chinese apps

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued a list of 59 Chinese apps that are now banned in the country. It's not clear at this moment how the list of apps was created, and civil society groups like the Internet Freedom Foundation say that this ban might not be proper use of Section 69A of the IT Act. This isn't the first time TikTok was been banned in the country - the app was blocked on the Play Store and App Store previous year, but was reinstated a few months later.

The National Security Council Secretariat had reportedly supported the advisory (sent out by intelligence agencies) and agreed these apps were a threat to India's security. "This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace", the ministry said. Citing security issues, the Indian government is now enforcing a wholesale ban on Chinese apps like TikTok, ShareIt, and other services. New Delhi said there were casualties on the Chinese side, but Beijing has not released any figures.

In a statement, India's ministry of information technology said the apps are 'prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.

The ministry says that several complaints of data theft and privacy violation led to the decision to ban the 59 apps - though no date for the ban to take effect has been confirmed. Thus, general speculation is that apps like these contain spyware are may be used for tracking and stealing sensitive information from users, and also be used for downplaying them in critical situations.

They added that compilation, mining and platforming of this data was "a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures".

Earlier this month, troops from the two countries engaged in a fatal brawl near their disputed border that resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese casualties.

Chinese mobiles have an nearly 65 percent share in the local smartphone market, while video-sharing apps like TikTok and Helo are popular among India's youths.

The Indian app economy is valuable to China with more than 800 million smartphone users eager and willing to lap up content on their devices.

An Indian government statement noted "raging concerns" with regards to data security and protecting the privacy of its citizens.



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