As tensions simmer on the Indo-China border, the Indian government has decided to ban 59 Chinese apps in the country. In a circular issued by authorities, mobile operators and ISPs have been ordered to ban apps citing “safety, security, defence, sovereignty & integrity of India” as the reason leading to the ban.
One of the biggest social media apps TikTok is in the list of the Chinese apps banned in India. The Ministry of Information Technology announced in a press release that these apps were stealing and transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers situated outside India.
TikTok in the news
The data collection policies of such apps pose a threat to national security and defence of India. Recently, TikTok came under the scrutiny of American cybersecurity experts. It was revealed that the app collects users’ location data and other sensitive data without appropriate permissions from users.
Earlier this week, TikTok was found snooping on clipboards of iPhone users. Ban in India is a huge setback for TikTok. The popular short video app amassed over 2 billion downloads worldwide and India topped the charts with 611 million downloads.
Will it be back?
Soon after the announcement of the ban, TikTok India has released a statement stating that the social media platform complies with all data privacy and security laws under Indian jurisdiction. The statement also mentions that TikTok does not share information of users in India with any foreign entity including the Chinese government.
Moreover, the Indian government has imposed an interim ban and has given notice to the banned apps to submit their clarifications within 48 hours. A committee comprising of officials from Information Technology, Home Ministry, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), law ministry and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) will hear the companies.
As it seems, there are chances that TikTok and other major Chinese apps could be unbanned if they are able to address the security concerns expressed by the Ministry of Information technology.
However, rising anti-China sentiments in the country could push Chinese apps on backfoot as the decision to ban apps by the Indian government is lauded by many. Chinese apps must walk a tightrope if they want to conduct business in India.