India’s government placed a ban on 59, mostly Chinese, mobile applications, including prominent apps such as Tiktok, WeChat, and UC Browser, citing national security concerns.
Tagged as “malicious apps,” India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology prohibited these applications’ access over fears that they’re undermining the country’s sovereignty.
According to the technology ministry:
“[The apps] are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order.”
The ministry also added:
“The compilation of these data, it’s mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense 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 prohibition on mobile applications by the technology ministry came after several users reported that their data was stolen.
According to the ministry, the data is being transmitted to servers outside India.
Following India’s government’s proscribing order, the apps will be removed from the Android and iOS stores of Indian phones.
Concurrently, the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre also pushed the apps to be banned.
“This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure the safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.”
A source within the government of India said:
“With access to people’s cameras and PCs, these apps heightened the risk of espionage as they could access other devices and servers that may be linked. Already there were concerns about misuse of TikTok for spreading hate or sexual content, including child porn, but what really led to the decision to block was suspicion of espionage.”
The decision to ban these applications came amidst rising tensions between India and China.