The Ministry of Information Technology on Monday banned 59 apps including TikTok, UC Browser and WeChat to “safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users.” The ministry said that it is invoking its power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act to block the 59 apps. The development is on the heels of the escalated confrontation between the Chinese soldiers and Indian soldiers in mid June at Ladakh’s Galwan valley. The tensions at the border also resulted in the Department of Telecommunications restricting the state run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) from procuring telecom gear from Chinese vendors.
Indian Government Blocks 59 Apps from iOS and Google Play
The ministry said that it has received several complaints including reports about misuse of certain apps available on iOS and Google Play stores. The reported apps were said to be “stealing” and transmitting data of the users “in an unauthorized manner to servers” located 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 Ministry of Information Technology, said in its release on Monday.
It was also said that the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre and the Ministry of Home Affairs have also sent a comprehensive recommendation “for blocking these malicious apps.”
“This Ministry has also received many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps,” the Ministry of Information Technology, said in its release.
Clash of Kings, Shareit, Mi Community Among Apps Banned by Government of India
Crucially, the ministry adds that there have been strong voices in the Indian community to take 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,” the Ministry of Information Technology, said in its release.
The ministry issued the list of 59 apps which includes TikTok, WeChat, Mi Community, Mi Video Call and Clash of Kings.
“This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users,” the Ministry of Information Technology, said in its release. “This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.”