India has finally cut off the only string it had left attached to China in the digital space. India’s ministry of electronics and information technology has declared to make the ban imposed on entertainment apps like TikTok, WeChat, Club Factory, and 56 more Chinese apps permanent from June 2021. The government has taken unprecedented actions against 267 Chinese apps since June-last year. This was done in order to censure them in the Indian internet space.
Why were these Chinese apps banned in the first place?
The Government of India had initiated the ban against apps like Tiktok, Mi Video Call and more, under Section 69A of the IT Act, accusing them of engaging in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of state and public order.
This digital strike was followed by a clash between the two countries on the disputed Himalayan border, where 20 Indian soldiers had been killed. The Chinese apps were accused of not using the data of Indian citizens and businesses correctly.
So, why did the Indian government make the ban on these Chinese apps permanent?
The decision of a permanent ban was taken by the IT ministry due to their dissatisfaction with the response of these Chinese companies to the various issues and queries raised by the government. These queries revolved around their data collection and data processing methods as well those around privacy and data security.
The Chinese apps were asked to provide information about their operations in India, their subscribers and more. Questions about “unauthorized data access” were also brought up. This is because the Chinese companies were also accused of having weak security features which led to espionage or surveillance through unauthorized data access.
“Mi India is in compliance with all government orders and will continue to do so and engage with the relevant stakeholders for the same.” This was the statement issued by the spokesperson of Xiaomi.
On the other hand, the representative of Tiktok stated that they are still evaluating the notice and will respond accordingly to the Indian government.
He also said, “We continually strive to comply with local laws and regulations and do our best to address any concerns the government may have. Ensuring the privacy and security of all our users remains to be our topmost priority.”
Among the other apps included in this ban are SHAREit, Likee, Weibo, PUBG Mobile, Snack Video, Cam Card, WeWorkChina and WeDate.
The exact date for implementing the permanency of this ban is yet to be decided. The ministry of electronics and information technology could not be reached for further comments.