59 mobile apps have been banned by the Ministry of Information Technology, Government of India, citing security reasons.
This move comes as India is planning military level talks with its Chinese counterparts on 30 June, to resolve the Eastern Ladakh confrontations, that has resulted in escalated tensions between the two Asian giants.
Most of the apps that have been banned are Chinese, and include the much used TikTok, UC Browser and WeChat app.
As per the press release of the Ministry of IT, the department has invoked its power under section 69A of the information technology act and in view of the emergent nature of threats by these software, decided to block 59 apps, both mobile as well as desktop based.
Though the orders were issued later in the evening on 29 June, it will take time for the App and Play Stores to act on them. Government orders will apply to new downloads – they will not be allowed to be downloaded. Those who have already downloaded them, will also not be able to use them as they will be deactivated.
The apps have been banned as they pose a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India, its defence, security of state and public order. The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre has sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking some malicious apps. Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) have received representations from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy for Indian users of these apps. Subsequent to the strong sentiment in public space, this strict action against these malicious apps was warranted.
These apps on the Android and iOS platforms steal and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data secretly to servers outside India.
The apps that have been banned, mostly originate from China and include TikTok, Helo, Likee, Cam Scanner, VigoVideo, Mi Video Call, Xiaomi, Clash of Kings, Club Factory, Shein, etc.