India bans 118 more Chinese apps; PUBG in the list

Sep 2, 2020

New Delhi: In yet another message to China following the country’s fresh attempts at intrusion, India on Wednesday banned 118 apps on national security concerns, including the immensely popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile, Baidu and couple of virtual private networks (VPNs) that allowed access to TikTok that was earlier banned.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology 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 unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India, a statement from the Ministry said.

”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 while announcing the ban.

The PUBG game, which has more than 600 million downloads and 50 million active players globally, has millions of users, especially young, in India. Other popular apps that have been banned include Baidu and Baidu Express Edition, ShareSave by Xiaomi, WeChat Work, Tencent Weiyun, Tencent Watchlist, Alipay, GO SMS Pro, ZAKZAK Pro and Live, Smart AppLock and Ludo World-Ludo Superstar, among others.

The Ministry said that the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.. 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.

”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

”In the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India and security of the State. And using the sovereign powers, the Government of India has decided to block the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices. These apps are listed in the attached appendix,” the Ministry said.

In July, the government banned 47 Chinese apps which were largely clones of the previously 59 apps banned in June.

The first to be banned were 59 Chinese apps,  including TikTok, WeChat and UC Browser and Xiaomi’s Mi Community. The Govt barred their use on June 29 during the course of border skirmishes in Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed by PLA troops in the Galwan Valley.

—India News Stream