After banning 59 apps of Chinese origin on June 29, the government on Tuesday directed the linked companies to ensure strict compliance with its orders. In an email to the companies, the Group Coordinator of Cyber Laws and E-Security Rakesh Maheshwari, warned that if any of the listed applications were still available or operating, it would be an offence under the Information Technology Act and could warrant penal provisions.
Citing the “emergent nature of threats” from mobile applications, including popular ones of Chinese origin such as TikTok, ShareIt, UCBrowser, Club Factory and CamScanner, the Centre had banned 59 apps on June 29 based on information that they were engaged in activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity”, defence, security and public order.
The move was seen as a retaliatory step amid the tense border standoff between India and China that led to 20 Indian Army personnel being killed on June 15. State-owned telecom companies have since moved to keep Chinese vendors out of their network upgradation tenders.
The Ministry used Section 69A of the Information Technology Act for their order.
“The Ministry of Information Technology 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 unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India,” the government said in a statement.
The move was executed by the IT Ministry’s Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and approved by the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) who is a part of the National Security Council Secretariat, sources said.