In a huge move, the central government on Monday decided to ban 59 mobile applications linked to China on grounds of national security. A formal order, asking phone companies to block the applications, was issued after weeks of discussions that started much before the Ladakh border standoff with China. But government officials told Hindustan Times that the deliberations were fast-tracked after June 15 violent scrap between soldiers at Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who had extended his complete support to the move to block the China-linked applications, signed off on Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla’s recommendation on Saturday. Since the government had decided against just issuing an advisory cautioning people about the risks associated with these applications, the formal orders were issued by the IT ministry.
A statement by the information technology ministry said a decision had been taken to block 59 applications “since in view of the information available, they are engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
The applications include popular short-video app TikTok, and other utility and content apps such as UC browser, Xender, SHAREit and Clean-master.
Hindustan Times was the first to report about the government move on June 17.
Explaining the decision, the IT ministry pointed to the 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 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 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,” said the IT ministry statement.
Indian intelligence agencies had been pushing for restrictions on the mobile applications on grounds that the apps were designed to extract data and park them outside the country where they could be used to intrude into the privacy of citizens.
COMPLETE LIST OF 59 MOBILE APPS BLOCKED IN INDIA
TikTok, Shareit, Kwai
UC Browser, Baidu map
Shein, Clash of Kings
DU battery saver, Helo
Likee, YouCam makeup, QQ Newsfeed
Mi Community, CM Browsers
Virus Cleaner, APUS Browser
ROMWE, Club Factory, Newsdog
Beauty Plus, WeChat, UC News,
QQ Mail, Weibo, Xender, QQ Music
Bigo Live, SelfieCity, Mail Master
Parallel Space, Mi Video Call – Xiaomi
WeSync, ES File Explorer
Viva Video – QU Video Inc
Meitu, Vigo Video, New Video Status
DU Recorder, Vault- Hide
Cache Cleaner DU App studio
DU Cleaner, DU Browser
Hago Play With New Friends
Cam Scanner, Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile
Wonder Camera, Photo Wonder
QQ Player, We Meet, Sweet Selfie
Baidu Translate, Vmate, QQ International
QQ Security Center, QQ Launcher
U Video, V fly Status Video
Mobile Legends, DU Privacy