India bans TikTok, other Chinese apps amid border standoff

  • India bans TikTok, other Chinese apps amid border standoff

India bans TikTok, other Chinese apps amid border standoff

The ministry received 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 unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.

Local media reported that the government "blocked 59 apps with Chinese links that included the hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser..." Opening TikTok website in India prompts a similar message. Google and Apple have removed these apps from playstore and app store.

The banned apps include some that enable TikTok users to add visual effects and music to their posts, as well as dating apps, privacy apps and multiplayer games.

With Asia's third-biggest economy dealt a sucker punch by the coronavirus, the apps ban fits in with Modi's vision outlined in May of a "self-reliant India" able to produce all it needs at home.

This isn't the first time TikTok has been banned in India - the Madras High Court in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu banned it past year over hate speech concerns, but quickly vacated its order.

In the longer term, Chinese companies might avoid investing in India's technology sector and Indian start-ups might be reluctant to accept Chinese investments for fear of repercussions, said Shaun Rein, managing director of market intelligence firm China Market Research Group. In the quarter that would end Tuesday, the 59 apps that India has ordered to ban were installed about 330 million times, the firm said. These apps had a combined monthly active user base of 505 million last month, according to mobile insights firm App Annie, the data of which an industry executive shared with TechCrunch.

This is the first time that India, the world's second largest internet market with almost half of its 1.3 billion population online, has ordered to ban so many foreign apps.

ByteDance-owned TikTok said that it places the highest importance on user privacy and integrity.

"In light of the law on blocking under Section 69A of the IT Act and IT Rules, 2009, we believe that all these services should be given a reasonable chance to represent themselves before the government to demonstrate their compliance and security standards", Vineet Kumar, Founder of Indian think tank, Cyberpeace Foundation told Sputnik.

This will also have some kind of an impact on advertising if things become more stringent and stricter, says Karan Taurani, vice-president.

As of right now, we are awaiting more information about this decision.

Amid the ongoing border tensions with China in Eastern Ladakh, the Centre had on Monday banned 59 mobile apps including TikTok, UC Browser and other Chinese apps "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity and defence" of the country.