The government of India on Monday announced the ban of 59 Chinese apps in the country. A day later one of the most popular short video applications TikTok has been taken down from Apple App store and also Google Play store. For users who have the TikTok app download can still use the app and post videos but officially the platform is now banned in the country.
Update: Some users have started seeing alerts saying TikTok is working with the government order. The alert noted, “Dear users, we are in the process of complying with the Government of India’s directive to block 59 apps. Ensuring this privacy and security of all our users in India remains our utmost priority.” Some users are unable to scroll through their timeline or even upload videos on TikTok. The app shows “network issue” which means telecom operators must have blocked TikTok until the government’s next order.
TikTok had nearly 119 million active users in India and was among the top 10 apps on Google Play store and Apple App store. Users who still have the TikTok app on their mobile phone can still be able to use it, however, the app can’t be downloaded anymore. Most other Chinese apps banned in India are still available for download.
It must be noted that if you have the app installed on your phone you will still be able to see it on Google Play store. Once you uninstall it the TikTok app will not be visible.
Meanwhile, TikTok has responded to the move and said, that TikTok has been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarification.
— TikTok India (@TikTok_IN) June 30, 2020
Here’s why India banned 59 Chinese apps
This is not the first time the app has been banned in India. Previously, TikTok app was blocked for promoting pornography content and over privacy concerns but it was relisted on Play store and App store in a few days. The government is yet to reveal as to how it plans to execute the ban this time.
In an official press release on banning these Chinese apps the Ministry of Information Technology said, “invoking it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 59 apps ( see Appendix) since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
The release also added that “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. This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.”
There are many Indian short video apps available on Google Play store and Apple App store including Chingaria, Bolo Indya, Roposo, Mitron, among others. Commenting on banning TikTok app in India Sumit Ghosh, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Chinagri App said, “This is a very good step taken by the Govt of India and the IT Ministry of India, For a very long time Tik Tok has been spying on users and sending back the data to china. We are happy that this step has been finally taken. I thank and congratulate Narendra Modi sir. And we assure we would like to welcome all the users of TikTok to come and try our Chingari, which is a 100% India grown app, and made for the passionate Indians.”
For safety, security, defence, sovereignty & integrity of India and to protect data & privacy of people of India the Government has banned 59 mobile apps.
Jai Hind! 🇮🇳
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) June 29, 2020
Alongside TikTok, the government has also banned 58 other apps including some of the popular ones like Shareit, UC Browser, Hel, Likee, Cam scanner, Weibo, Xender, We Chat, Club Factory, Vmate, Mi Video call – Xiaomi, Mi Community, Bigo Live, among others.
Commenting on the move Vivek Chandy, Joint Managing Partner at J Sagar Associates said, “The access to, and storage and usage of, data of Indian users by several of these apps was apparently a concern for some time already. While the protection of that data may be the ostensible reason for this move, its impact on the companies concerned will remain to be seen. In addition to this move, the government should look at strengthening India’s data privacy and protection laws.”
Full list of Chinese apps banned in India
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