The Ministry of Information Technology concerns on data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. The ministry said it has received complaints about some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms allegedly stealing and surreptitiously transmitting user data in an unauthorised manner to servers outside India.
The government invoked power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act to block the apps.
Many of the Chinese apps have been linked to controversies over data privacy, and have been accused of sharing sensitive information with the Chinese government. The 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) offers critical insights into today’s cybersecurity landscape. This rapid expansion of digital payment systems is happening at a time when cyber security threats to payment systems are increasing globally, with organised criminal syndicates committing cyber-crimes. In some cases, foreign governments have used these syndicates and other such proxies to target other states’ financial institutions and banks. Recently, Zimbabwe become the first country to suspend all mobile payments, many more to follow in the near future since the bank accounts are the soft target of the cyber crooks via payment apps .
In last 48 hour at the global level, which we would like to bring, France commits military support to India, US & Germany block China’s move in UNSC which blamed India for Karachi terror attack, India deviates from ‘One China Policy’ for the 1st time by mentioning the new HongKong Security Law in UNHRC, UK offers residence in UK for 5 years to 2.6 million people in Hong Kong, after which they will be granted citizenship, US bans Huawei for links to Communist Party of China. Things are definitely heating up, and it doesn’t look like the West is interested in firing at China only from India’s shoulders. Russia to deliver S-400 Missile Defence Systems a year early to India, despite strong objections from Beijing and finally, Australia is increasing its defence spending by up to 40% over the next 10 years.
It’s increasingly apparent that even the most sophisticated network systems are vulnerable to cyber-attacks and there are very interesting developments and the blocked apps include TikTok, Share It, Mi Community, UC browser, Club Factory. For many of these, India is their biggest market by consumer reach. TikTok has more than 200 million in India. Shareit has more than 400 million and UC browser has over 130 million users in India. The move is part of the tit-for-tat retaliation after the Indian and Chinese militaries clashed earlier this month.
India, home to half a billion internet users, is the second-largest app market by volume worldwide with 19 billion downloads in 2019. The list of apps that have been banned also include Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein. This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies. Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has called the ban on 59 Chinese apps “a digital strike” by India on China.
One in three smartphone users in India will be impacted by this ban. Experts says, “It is to be seen how it will be enforced, either through play store or iOS store. But it is going to be very difficult as we still don’t know what happens to the pre-installed apps.”
For pre-installed apps, the government might follow the route of banning apps through a national-level firewall like in China and Russia. “We might also see people already deleting the apps from the system.”