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    Govt bans 47 more Chinese apps citing risks to national sovereignty, integrity and defence

    Synopsis

    The source privy to the development said that the 47 additional Chinese apps that have been banned now were clones and variants of the apps which were blocked earlier.

    AFP
    The government last week banned 47 variants, or clones, of 59 Chinese mobile applications that it had banned last month, including Helo Lite, Bigo Lite, CamScanner Advanced, among others, a top government official told ET.

    Google and Apple Inc, which run popular mobile operating systems Android and iOS, respectively, were directed to remove these apps from their app stores, and they are expected to comply with the order soon after “due process is followed,” the official added.

    Variants of popular Chinese short videos platform TikTok are not in the list, since the ByteDance-owned platform removed its apps soon after the first order was issued on June 29, the official said.

    The 59 Chinese apps were banned, citing threats to the country’s “sovereignty and security”. The apps included social media apps TikTok, WeChat and Helo, along with file sharing app ShareIT, UC Browser and shopping app Club Factory.

    On Monday, ET reported that the government had drawn up a list of 275 Chinese apps that it would examine for any violation of national security and user privacy, signalling heightened scrutiny and the possibility of more Chinese internet companies being banned.

    The exhaustive list, reviewed by ET, includes gaming app PUBG backed by China’s most valuable internet major Tencent, Zili by phone maker Xiaomi, AliExpress by ecommerce giant Alibaba, as well as apps like Resso and ULike from TikTok-owner ByteDance.

    Official sources had said that reviews aimed at identifying more Chinese apps and their funding was under way.

    “Some of these apps have been red-flagged due to security reasons, while others have been listed for violation of data sharing and privacy concerns. The government may ban all, some or none from the list,” the sources said.

    The government had also issued strict directions to companies to ensure that none of the banned apps were directly or indirectly available for download in India by any means.

    As use of smartphones heads towards 442 million in 2022 with wide availability of cheap data plans, India is recognising the risk to personal data of its citizens, said Sajai Singh, Partner at J Sagar Associates.

    “In China, many large companies, including telecom, OTT and others, are closely linked with the state. This obviously raises red flags for nations when it comes to data of its citizens,” he said.

    The government had evoked emergency powers under the Information Technology Act, 2000 to ban these apps, including provisions under Section 66A of the law. The government has since sent a long questionnaire to these companies giving them three weeks’ notice to respond. The deadline is expiring this week.

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    8 Comments on this Story

    Kris123 days ago
    Art of fooling!
    Sanjiv Dogra124 days ago
    ban everything Chinese
    Gaana User124 days ago
    # ban pubg
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