On Monday, the Indian government “blocked” as many as 59 Chinese Apps, including popular ones such as TikTok, UC Browser, We Chat, Shareit, Likee, and CamScanner for “engaging inactivities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, security of state and public order”.
The applications will no longer be available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store for India. The information technology ministry’s move to ban the “malicious Apps,” comes a day before the third round of talks between Indian and Chinese military commanders to resolve the stand-off on Ladakh border.
Several complaints of data data stealing were also registered against these apps and that they were illegally being transmitted on servers located outside India, said the Central Government without naming China.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a statement Monday, “The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense 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.”
“This move 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 government said.
According to the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, data was flowing to China. TikTok and some other Apps, were configured in such a way that having the full access of camera and microphone, they were able to transfer data. However, among the blocked apps, there were some Apps that were nationally located in the US or other countries such as Singapore.
“With access to people’s cameras and PCs, these Apps heightened the risk of espionage as they could access other devices and servers that may be linked. Already there were concerns about misuse of TikTok for spreading hate or sexual content, including child porn, but what really led to the decision to block was suspicion on espionage,” a source said.