India bans China-linked apps amid border standoff
TikTok, UC Browser, SHAREiT and WeChat are among apps blocked
Weeks after deadly clashes between India and China along the border, the Indian government on Monday announced that it blocked dozens of mobile applications including popular apps with Chinese links.
“In view of the emergent nature of threats, [the Ministry of Information Technology] has decided to block 59 apps since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order,” said a statement issued by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
“There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians,” the statement said, and added that “it has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country.”
“The Ministry of 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.
“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense 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,” read the statement.
According to the government, “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 recent credible inputs that such Apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices,” it said.
Local media reported that the government “blocked 59 apps with Chinese links that included the hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser…”
SHAREiT and WeChat are also among apps banned.
“Within minutes of the announcement, the Indian government's TikTok account MyGov, which had 1.1 million followers, was disabled,” the local broadcaster NDTV said.
India and China are witnessing a heightened faceoff along the border, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in the Ladakh region of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir, in which 20 soldiers were killed earlier this month.
Border tensions between the two countries have existed for over seven decades.
China claims territory in India's northeast, while New Delhi accuses Beijing of occupying its territory in the Aksai Chin plateau in the Himalayas, including part of the Ladakh region.