The Indian government puts a ban on 59 Chinese applications including Tik Tok and UC Browser. The Government says these applications hold activities “prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity, Defence, the security of India, following the India-China dispute.
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Ban on Chinese applications like Tik Tok, Share it, We Chat
The government put a ban under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act with other provisions. It cited complaints about the transfer of Indian user’s data abroad without authorization. Tik Tok users who have the app already on their phones can use it and post videos. But, these platforms are legally banned in India.
This decision could lead to more countries following India’s cue against these apps. Ministry of Electronics and IT says they have received some complaints about the misuse of some mobile apps. A senior IT official said the prime reason to block the apps is to stop the violation of the security of the state. Also, the public order and to plug the data leaks.
“The data compilation, its mining, and profiling by elements hostile to national security and Defence of India. This impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India. Its a matter of deep and immediate concern that requires emergency measures,” it said. “There are some furious concerns on aspects of data security. And, safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It’s notable that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country.” The Internet Freedom Foundation also says, “This is not a legal order issued under Section 69A of IT. Our first task is transparency and disclosure.” The activist group tweets such cases need to ponder individually and not in the total.
“There is legitimacy in concerns of data security and citizens’ privacy,” it said. “This can achieve through regulatory processes that emerge from objective, evidence-based measures. This ensures credible action that protects individual liberty, innovation & security interests.”
Competitors welcomes the government move
InMobi, the ad tech company that owns Roposo, a video app that competes with TikTok. It says the move may open up the market for its platform. While ShareChat, the Indian social network, welcomes the government’s move.
Now, Bolo Indya which is a rival to TikTok, says it will benefit from the ban on its largest rival. “We welcome the decision as we resonate with the concerns raise by the government. This is the opportunity for Bolo India and other Indian apps to deliver value. Also, keeping Indian culture and data security at the highest priority,” said its co-founder and CEO, Varun Saxena.
Some analysts say this move will impact the Chinese applications.“From a prudent perspective, it puts enormous economic pressure. Because these apps are heavily reliant on Indian markets. From a legal perspective, it’s sound. Because grounds like national security are tough to challenge in a court of law,” said Santosh Pai, partner at Link Legal. He tracks Chinese investments in the country. “If this is going to be the new state of affairs, we need to see whether Indian apps will fulfill the need. Or, American apps will take market share.”
Indian social apps investors say that competition will come down due to the ban on Chinese applications. “The competitive threat will go down. But a lot of apps in India takes inspiration from the deft engineering of Chinese applications. The ecosystem’s creativity will slow down,” says Deepak Gupta, founding partner at WEH Ventures.