New Delhi: After banning 59 Chinese applications in India, the IT Ministry is now mulling to ban more applications with links in China, said a report.
The applications — Helo Lite, ShareIt Lite, Bigo Lite and VFY Lite — have been removed from the Google playstore and Apple app store, the officials said.
The government had, in a similar move last month, banned 59 applications, including popular video app TikTok, in the backdrop of a India-China standoff in Galwan Valley, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Banning the apps, the government had said that they were ‘prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country’.
Union Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had on Wednesday said that digital platforms anywhere in the world should be accountable and responsive towards the sovereign concerns of countries, such as defence, privacy and security of citizens.
In his address at the virtual meeting of G20 Digital Economy Ministers, hosted by Saudi Arabia which is holding the presidency of G20, he emphasised on data-related issues and sovereign rights of countries to protect data privacy and security of its citizens.
Prasad mentioned that India is soon going to put in place a robust personal data protection law which will not only address the data privacy-related concerns of citizens but also ensure availability of data for innovation and economic development.
“The apps were found to be operating despite the ban via these versions,” a MEITY official said. “They have been taken down from application stores.”
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, invoking it’s power under section 69 A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats decided to block 59 apps since in view of the information available they are “engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of state and public order”.
Upon receiving of recent credible inputs that such Apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices, a ministry statement read.
The Government also asserted that this move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users.
Following this, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had reportedly directed the 59 banned Chinese apps to strictly adhere to the orders or face serious action in case of violation.
People in the know of developments said that the Ministry has written to all the companies concerned and said that making the apps available, directly or indirectly, would violate IT Act and other laws.