The Government of India on Monday banned 59 applications, most of them popular Chinese applications such as TikTok, Shareit, Mi Video Call, Club Factory and Cam Scanner, citing threat to national security and sovereignty.
The ban comes amid continuing tensions on the border between India and China and covers a variety of applications from e-commerce to gaming, social media, browsers, instant messaging and file sharing.
Order to Google, Apple
“Upon receiving recent credible inputs that such apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage … both [on] mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices,” the Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) said in statement.
According to sources, Meity has issued instructions to Google and Apple to remove the banned applications from their respective application stores. Additionally, telecom operators and Internet service providers will be asked to block access and use of these applications on their networks.
The Ministry said it was invoking its power under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.
“… in view of the emergent nature of threats, [the government] has decided to block 59 apps … in view of information available [that] they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” the government said.
Pointing out that there has been “a strong chorus” in the public space to take strict action against such applications, Meity said that besides citizens, it received exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps from the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The IT Ministry said it received many complaints, including misuse of mobile apps for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations 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.
Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst and CEO at Greyhound Research, said the ban was easy to implement. “The government just needs to send clear instructions to operators, Internet service providers and the application stores i.e Google’s Play store and Apple’s App Store,” he said, adding that of the entire list, TikTok, Mi Video Call and Cam Scanner were the three most critical apps that people use in India.
The move, he added, effectively gave China a taste of its own medicine as the country had permanently banned applications such as Facebook and Google.
Some of the well-known applications in the banned list include TikTok, Shareit, Mi Video Call, Club Factory, UC Browser, Shein, Clash of Kings, Helo, Mi Community, WeChat, Cam Scanner, Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile, Baidu Translate, Mobile Legends.
Full list of apps
7.Clash of Kings
8.DU battery saver
31.Mi Video Call – Xiaomi
33.ES File Explorer
34.Viva Video – QU Video Inc
37.New Video Status
40.Cache Cleaner DU App studio
43.Hago Play With New Friends
45.Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile
54.QQ Security Center
57.V fly Status Video