India Bans 59 Chinese Apps Including TikTok, UC Browser Over National Security Concerns
Union government on Monday (29 June) decided to ban 59 Chinese applications including the popular short video sharing app TikTok, data sharing app ShareIt, UC Browser, scanning app CamScanner among others over national security concerns.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), in a letter issued on Monday evening, said all these apps were found to be engaged in activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India".
"These measures have been undertaken since there is credible information that these apps are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order," said the statement.
The move has come in the wake of deadly brawl between the Indian Army and the Chinese People's Liberation Army in Eastern Ladakh's Galwan valley on 15 June, in which at least 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives. The two countries have been locked in a face-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) for nearly two months.
The ministry received complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations 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 statement read.
The MeitY said the move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile users.
"There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country," said the government.
Other Chinese apps in the banned list are Club Factory, Likee, Mi Video Call (Xiaomi), Weibo, Baidu, Bigo Live and more.
Earlier this month, Indian intelligence agencies red flagged these Chinese apps over safety and privacy issues of users.
The government needs to either block access to these apps or advise people to stop their use, according to the intel inputs, said the agencies.
The report came amid growing chorus from Indian activists to boycott Chinese products due to the border tensions between the two countries in Ladakh.
The recommendations of the intelligence agencies were also backed by the National Security Council Secretariat which determined that certain China-linked applications could be detrimental to the country's security, said the report citing an unnamed government official.
(With inputs from IANS)
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