India bans 59 Chinese apps including TikTok over national security concerns

Joanna Estrada
June 29, 2020

While the government notice issuing the ban did not explicitly mention China by name, it is only Chinese-made apps that have been blacklisted.

The Indian ministry did not reference the border conflict or the fact that numerous banned apps were developed by Chinese companies in their statement.

TikTok was already briefly banned in India over child safety concerns a year ago, but after the company appealed, its app was allowed to be reinstated in the App Store and Google Play.

"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 chose to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices", it said.

In a statement, India's ministry of information technology said the apps are 'prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order. Citing security issues, the Indian government is now enforcing a wholesale ban on Chinese apps like TikTok, ShareIt, and other services.

The list of apps that the central government has banned
The list of apps that the central government has banned

The press release said the mining of this data posed a threat to India's sovereignty and integrity and also raised privacy concerns.

ByteDance's TikTok, which counts India as its biggest market, Community and Video Call apps from Xiaomi, which is the top smartphone vendor in India, UC Browser, UC News, Shareit, CM Browser, Club Factory (India's third-largest e-commerce firm), ES File Explorer are among the 59 apps that India's Ministry of Electronics and IT have ordered to ban.

Another app falling in the MeitY's list is CamScanner, which is a popular solution for scanning documents in mobile phones. The decision also ensures the safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace. Majority of these apps were recently red-flagged by intelligence agencies over concerns that they were collecting user data and possibly also sending them "outside" of the country's borders.

The report comes amid growing chorus from Indian activists to boycott Chinese products due to the border tensions between the two countries in Ladakh.

The decision on the ban was taken following inputs from Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (Ministry of Home Affairs), Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN), public representatives and citizens.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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