Govt says they are prejuducial to national security and citizens’ privacy
The Union Ministry of Information & Technology on Wednesday banned 118 apps, including the popular gaming app PUBG.
The move comes amid soaring tensions between India and China after the Centre earlier decided to ban several Chinese apps and boycott Chinese goods over the Galwan Valley incident.
As per an official press release, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, invoking its powers under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009, and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 118 mobile apps since, in view of information available, they are engaged in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State and public order.
The release says the ministry has received many 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 unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India. The compilation of this data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to the national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs, has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps. Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament. There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.
According to recent credible inputs, information posted, permissions sought, functionality embedded as well as data harvesting practices of these apps raise serious concerns that these apps collect and share data in a surreptitious manner and compromise personal data and information of users that can have a severe threat to security of the State.
The release says that in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India and security of the State, and using its sovereign powers, the Government of India has decided to block these apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet- enabled devices.
According to the release, the move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users, and is targeted to ensure the safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.