India-China LAC Row: PUBG and 117 other mobile applications banned in India

India-China LAC Row: PUBG and 117 other mobile applications banned in India

‘Third digital strike on China, Ministry of Information & Technology bans 118 mobile applications including popular game PUBG’

Srinagar: In the backdrop of India- China LAC row, the Ministry of Information & Technology bans PUBG and 118 other mobile applications on Wednesday. Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, under the Ministry of Home Affairs also sent a recommendation for blocking these controversial apps.
A total of 118 apps have been banned by the ministry of information and technology, according to an official statement the ministry said that, the banned mobile applications are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, defence of India and public order.
This is the third round of crackdown by the government on Chinese-linked applications following the Galwan Valley clashes in May in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
With the up-to-date order, the total number of Chinese mobile phone apps banned by the government of India goes up to 224. The government had first banned 59 Chinese apps days after the violent clash between the Indian and the Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in June.
It was followed by another restriction order in which 49 more Chinese mobile apps were banned in India.
The ministry of electronics and information technology received several grievances from various sources including reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms.
The complaints alleged stealing and furtively transmitting users’ data in an illegal manner to servers which possibly had locations outside India.
The statement said that, “The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereigntyand integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.”
The move comes in the background of tension between India and China in eastern region of Ladakh.
The Press release issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India reads as, “The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Government of India 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 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 118 mobile app (see Appendix) since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.
The Ministry of Electronics and 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, it’s 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.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps. Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India. 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 of recent credible inputs that information posted, permissions sought, functionality embedded as well as data harvesting practices of above stated Apps raise serious concerns that these Apps collect and share data in surreptitious manner and compromise personal data and information of users that can have a severe threat to security of the State.
In the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India and security of the State. And using the sovereign powers, the Government of India has decided to block the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices. These apps are listed in the attached appendix.
This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.”
Earlier in June, the Centre had banned 59, mostly Chinese, mobile applications such as TikTok, UC Browser and WeChat, citing concerns that these are ‘prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order’

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