The ban comes just days after it was reported that the government had received an advisory from intelligence agencies against the use of 52 apps, many of them with links to China, over privacy concerns.
The government of India has banned 59 apps with links to China to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace. The government has been mulling the ban for some time now, closely examining the risks involved with using these apps on a per app basis, after red flags were raised by several unnamed sources, i.e, intelligence agencies. The main concern seems to be the collection of user data and the unauthorized sending of this data to locations outside of India.
Why has the Govt banned 59 apps with links to China?
The ban comes just days after it was reported that the government had received an advisory from intelligence agencies against the use of 52 apps, many of them with links to China, over privacy concerns. Zoom, a US-based app was also reportedly part of the list. Recently, there were also reports that the government had asked Google and Apple to ban Chinese apps like TikTok and CamScanner from Play Store and App Store respectively, something which was later confirmed (by the government) to be fake news.
That said, it looks like the government had indeed been closely watching many Chinese apps, over concerns of data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians.
In a press release, the ministry of information technology has now confirmed the ban on 59 apps with links to China for allegedly engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.
What does the ban mean for users?
“There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against Apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens,” the press release further said adding that the “government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices.”
It isn’t immediately clear if the government has asked Google and Apple to ban the likes of TikTok and others included in the list from the Play Store and App Store and/or the ramifications if someone goes against the ban and uses any of these apps in India going forward. At the time of filing the story, TikTok is still available for use on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, so it would be interesting to see what happens next. ISPs being asked to block access to app servers can be one way how the government could ensure active users can’t use them anymore.
For now, the government of India has made it clear that Chinese apps like TikTok and UC Browser are a threat to national security and as such Indians are advised not to use them anymore. The ban on TikTok stands out the most because only recently it was caught spying on iPhone users in India (and globally) with the Bytedance-owned company then coming up and saying it won’t do it again.
Full list of Chinese apps banned in India
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, Beauty 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