Amid the ongoing tensions between India and China over the stand-off at the LAC in eastern Ladakh, the Centre has banned 59 Chinese-origin mobile apps after, terming their activities as prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity, defence of the country, security of state and public order.
In an official statement, the IT Ministry said it has received many 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 said.
The banned Chinese mobile apps include video-sharing social networking application Tik Tok, UC Browser and Helo besides file sharing app Shareit and WeChat among others. Other proscribed apps are Baidu Map, Shein, Clash of Kings, DU Battery Saver, Likee, You cam Makeup, Mi Community, Virus Cleaner, APUS Browser, Club Facotry, UC News, Weibo, Mail Master, Parallel Space, Mi Video Call, Cam Scanner and Baidu Translate among others.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Union Home Ministry, has also sent an exhaustive recommendation to stakeholders for blocking these malicious apps.
“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,” it said.
The move (ban on apps) will “safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace”.
The decision comes amid a backlash in the public to boycott Chinese products, services and mobile apps.