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IT Ministry asks Google, Apple to remove apps with Chinese links; telecom firms await order

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.

Written by Karishma Mehrotra | New Delhi | Updated: June 30, 2020 1:52:19 pm
app ban, chinese apps banned, govt bans tiktok, tiktok ban, uc browser ban, india china border news 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. (Bloomberg)

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.

Earlier in the day, TikTok India said it is in the process of complying with the government order and that it has not shared any information of Indian users with foreign governments, including China.

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.

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