The IT Ministry on Tuesday issued an order to Google and Apple to ban 59 applications from their stores in tune with the Centre’s latest decision over security concerns, a spokesperson told The Indian Express.
However, internet service providers such as Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone said they have not received any order from the government to ban these applications, sources said.
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 on Monday banned 59 apps based on information that they were engaged in activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity”, defence, security and public order.
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The move is 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 app’s India head Nikhil Gandhi said, “The government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications.”
“TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and have not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government. Further, if we are requested to in the future, we could not do so. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity”, Gandhi added.
An IT Ministry spokesperson said those who have already installed these apps will not receive updates, while internet service providers will be asked to block access to these platforms. The spokesperson said that Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store have been directed to remove the apps.