The Government of India on Wednesday banned 118 mostly Chinese mobile apps, including the popular online multiplayer game PUBG, after fresh round of border confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh.
In a statement, the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology said the apps were banned as “they are engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order”.
This is the third round of crackdown by the government on Chinese-linked applications following the Galwan Valley clashes in May in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
News18 had last month reported on the proposed ban on apps like PUBG, Ludo and li Express. Other apps banned on Wednesday include avatars of applications banned previously, like TikTok and WeChat, Youku, Baidu, Baidu Express and Ali Pay.
“This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace,” said a statement from the ministry.
The statement said it has received many complaints from various sources, including 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 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,” it said.
Welcoming the ban, Praveen Khandelwal, the secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said, “On behalf of the business community of the country, we express our gratitude and compliments to government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking such an important step as per the wishes of the people of India. Apps like PUBG were spoiling the next generation.”
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps, said the statement. “Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India. 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,” it added.
“On the basis of these and upon receiving of recent credible inputs that information posted, permissions sought, functionality embedded as well as data harvesting practices of above stated Apps raise serious concerns that these apps collect and share data in surreptitious manner and compromise personal data and information of users that can have a severe threat to security of the state,” it said.
Source: News 18