The Indian government on June 29, blocked 59 Chinese Apps alleging that they had been “engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order”. The popular apps like TikTok, UC browser and Shareit are among the apps banned for their malicious activities.
The Indian government indirectly attacked China and said, “The move against the malicious Apps, announced by the information technology ministry, came after several complaints of stealing of user data, which was allegedly being surreptitiously transmitted to servers located outside India”.
Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre which works under the home ministry has also separately advised blocking these apps. The government said, “This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace”.
China will suffer a lot of revenue after the move. An official said, “Modi government has shown its resolve and dexterity to engage China on multiple fronts and hit China where it hurts the most. This is India’s first salvo to China after the border clashes, showing that India has a diverse range of retaliatory options”.
According to investigations on TikTok, the camera, microphone and full network access were configured in such a way that any data use or espionage could not be verified by the Indian authorities.
A source said, “With access to people’s cameras and PCs, these Apps heightened the risk of espionage as they could access other devices and servers that may be linked. Already there were concerns about misuse of TikTok for spreading hate or sexual content, including child porn, but what really led to the decision to block was suspicion on espionage”.
An IT Ministry said, “there have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country”.
The government said that it received, “representations from various citizens regarding the security of their data and risk to privacy relating to the operation of certain Apps. The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received many representations from citizens regarding the security of data and breach of privacy. Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India.”