The Centre has blocked 59 apps with Chinese links that included the hugely popular TikTok, WeChat and UC Browser, amid a huge economic backlash against China following the June 15 clashes at Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers died in action. Sources said inputs from intelligence agencies suggested that the apps have been violating the terms of usage, compromising users’ privacy, and being used as spyware or malware. Within minutes of the announcement, the Indian government’s TikTok account MyGov, which had 1.1 million followers, was disabled.
For safety, security, defence, sovereignty & integrity of India and to protect data & privacy of people of India the Government has banned 59 mobile apps.
Jai Hind! 🇮🇳
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) June 29, 2020
The move comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India has given a “befitting response” to China. He also spoke of the countrywide call for a boycott of Chinese goods, juxtaposing it against the government’s “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” campaign. “We will buy local and be vocal for local and this will help India become stronger,” he said.
In a statement this evening, the government said the apps were blocked “in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order”.
The statement from the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology said it had received an “exhaustive recommendation” from the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The ministry said it also received representations from people on “security of data and risk to privacy” regarding certain apps.