By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, July 27: Following the ban on 59 Chinese Apps last month, the Indian government has banned 47 additional Chinese Apps after they were discovered to be clones of previously banned Apps, sources said.
The Ministry of Information and Technology announced the ban on Friday, reported the Indian Express which cited an official saying, “the problem is with the operational ethics of certain apps. This is an ongoing process. If apps qualify under the same grounds of operational ethics, then they will also come under the scanner.” The list of latest banned apps has not been released yet and is expected to be announced shortly. Popular gaming App- PubG may likely be on the list according to sources.
In June, the ministry announced ban on 59 Chinese Apps including the popular short video platform- Tik Tok and We Chat, amid ongoing military standoff at the LAC in Ladakh near the Indo-Tibet border. The ministry at the time said that the Chinese Apps are banned “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 list of banned Apps included the popular Tik Tok, UC browser, Shareit and Wechat, an app used by considerable exile Tibetans and is known to be used as a surveillance tool by China in Tibet. The ministry added that certain Chinese Apps have raised concerns over safety of data and user privacy leading to calls to take strict action against Apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs, has sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps. “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,” the statement said.
The United States also indicated that Chinese Apps are under the scanner after it imposed visa restriction to employees of Chinese company Huawei earlier this month. “Whether it’s TikTok or any of the other Chinese communications platforms, apps, infrastructure, this administration has taken seriously the requirement to protect the American people from having their information end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during an interview with The Hill on July 15.