The Government of India Blocks 118 Mobile Apps Including PUBG

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India in a press release on Wednesday announced to block 118 mobile apps. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology by enforcing its power under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act and the provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules decided to ban these 118 mobile apps.

Section 69A of Information Technology Act gives the power to the Central Government to block the public access of information sent through any computer resource in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order and the defence of India.

According to the government, these apps are engaging in activities which are prejudicial to the defence of India. It is also prejudicial to the public order, sovereignty and integrity of India and the security of the state. The press release states that the banning of these apps is because of the emergent nature of the threats it possesses. An appendix to the press release lists down the names of all the 118 banned apps. Certain widely used apps such as Pubg, WeChat Work, Baidu, Face U, etc. are in the list of the banned apps. The whole list of the banned apps is available in the press release posted on the ‘Press Information Bureau’ website of the Government of India.

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs sent a comprehensive recommendation for blocking these apps to the Government of India. Various public representatives flagged binary views both inside and outside the Parliament of India regarding this issue. The public demanded to take strict action against these apps that cause harm to the sovereignty of India and the privacy of the citizens. The press release gives the reasons for banning these apps.

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology got many complaints from various sources along with the reports of misuse of some mobile apps which are available on Android and iOS platforms. These complaints and reports accused these apps of stealing data of the users and secretly transmitting them to servers outside India in an unauthorised manner. The compilation of these data indicate elements which are hostile to national security and the defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India. The transmission data and information of users is a matter of deep and immediate concern, and it requires emergency measures, and thus the government arrived at this decision.

The government took this decision stating that the apps raise serious concerns by collecting data and sharing it secretly, which compromises personal data and information of users that can have a severe threat to the security of the state. It stated that arrival of this decision is upon receiving credible inputs of the information posted, permissions sought and data harvesting practices of the banned apps. 

The Government of India by using the sovereign powers blocked the usage of these apps in both mobile and non-mobile internet-enabled devices. It will safeguard the interest of Indian mobile users and internet users of the country. The press release also states that this decision is a targeted move to ensure security, safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace. 

Indeed this is a big decision by the Government of India. This decision helps in protecting the information of citizens of the country. Adequate reasons back this decision, the major one being the misuse of data and secretly transferring information of users and putting the country in danger. This decision is necessary for the present situation where there is a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India. This decision of the government assures tight security measures which are the need of the hour to evade the dangers faced by the country.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at mayashree.acharya@cleartax.in

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