June 30, 2020 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: Amidst heightened tensions with China in Ladakh region, the Government of India yesterday announced to ‘block’ 59 mobile apps. Most of these apps were developed and run by Chinese companies. The list included many popular apps like TikTok, UC Browser, CamScanner and WeChat (full list below).
The GoI has also blocked two Apps by Xiaomi- “Mi Community” and “Mi Video Call – Xiaomi”. Xiaomi’s mobile devices under brand name Mi have considerable market in India.
In a written release India’s Ministry of Information Technology said that the blockage is imposed by invoking it’s 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.
It further says that blockage is imposed “in view of the emergent nature of threats” in view of “information available” that these apps are “engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
MIT’s written release reads: “Over the last few years, India has emerged as a leading innovator when it comes to technological advancements and a primary market in the digital space. At the same time, 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 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”.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps. This Ministry has also received many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps. The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received many representations from citizens regarding security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues.
The justification rationale offered by MIT runs longer and also refers to ‘concerns’ flagged by MPs and also to ‘strong chorus in the public space’.
“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”, reads the MIT release.
“On the basis of these and upon receiving of 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. These apps are listed in the attached appendix”, it reads further.
“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”, reads last line of release.
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Related Topics: Current Situation in South Asia, India China Relationship, Indian Politics, Indian State, Indo-China Border Dispute, Indo-China Relations, Ladakh 2020 Standoff Between China and India, Narendra Modi Led BJP Government in India (2019-2024)