Amit Shah powers India’s ban on 59 China-linked mobile apps: 10 points
The applications include popular short-video app TikTok, and other utility and content apps such as UC browser, Xender, SHAREit and Clean-master among several others.Updated: Jun 29, 2020 22:08 IST
Citing national security, the Centre on Monday banned 59 mobile applications, including China’s TikTok, SHAREiT and WeChat calling the move as one meant to safeguard the interests of Indian mobile and internet users.
The formal orders banning the 59 apps were issued by the IT ministry after home minister Amit Shah, who had extended his support to the move to block the China-linked applications, signed Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla’s recommendation on Saturday. The government had earlier decided against just issuing an advisory cautioning people about the risks associated with these apps and had decided to formally ban the applications in the country.
The applications include popular short-video app TikTok, and other utility and content apps such as UC browser, Xender, SHAREit and Clean-master among several others.
Indian intelligence agencies had been trying to restrict the mobile applications on grounds that the apps were designed to extract data and park them outside the country, where at a later stage they could be used to intrude into the privacy of Indian citizens.
Top ten points on the Union government’s latest move banning 59 China-linked apps:
1. The government has issued a formal order asking phone companies to block the applications. The order came after weeks of crucial discussions that started much before the border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh earlier this month.
2. The decision was fast-tracked, however, after the June 15 violent skirmish between soldiers of both sides at the Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh, in which 20 Indian soldiers died.
3. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said it had received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for allegedly “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India”.
4. The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre affiliated to the Ministry of Home Affairs, has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these apps.
5. Chinese companies have for some time now been suspected of building backdoors in their hardware and software, one reason why many governments globally have been cautious at the prospect of deploying Chinese-made 5G networking equipment.
6. In a statement, the Centre said the apps were blocked “in view of information available that they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of the country, security of state and public order”.
7. According to the government, this huge decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.
8. The government statement indicated that “there has been a strong chorus in the public domain to take strict action against certain China-linked apps that may harm the country’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of its citizens”.
9. Some of the applications that make it to the list of banned ones include DU Cleaner,
DU Browser, Hago Play With New Friends, Cam Scanner, Clean Master - Cheetah Mobile, Wonder Camera, Photo Wonder, QQ Player, We Meet and Sweet Selfie to name a few.
10. On the basis of several recent credible inputs that a number of China-linked apps may pose a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the government has decided to disallow the usage of these apps in both mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices used in the country.