India blocks 232 dubious apps with Chinese origins

In a swift move, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) blocked a total of 232 mobile applications (apps) having links to China. These apps have been specifically blocked for their alleged involvement in betting, gambling, money laundering and unauthorised lending. Government sources have cited national security reasons for this ban imposed. It was based on an emergency communication from the Home Ministry.

 

The MEITY is yet to release an official list of such blocked apps, but what has been reported till now is that out of the 232 apps banned by MEITY, 138 are betting apps while 94 were usurious lending apps, charging hefty interest rates. Some of the Chinese lending apps had come under criticism in the past for the strong-arm tactics used as well as the unethical methods to recover money including illegally uploading details to their contacts.

 

Section 69A of the Information Technology Act confers on the government, the unlimited powers to restrict access to any content to protect the sovereignty and integrity of India as well as to protect internal security. It can also ban apps which have the potential to foment trouble in the country, engage the wrong type of participants as well as engender risks to foreign policy. 

 

There is a history of ban on Chinese apps in the past too. For instance, in June 2020, the MEITY banned 59 mobile apps including TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser Xender etc, which were seen as prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. Later in September 2020, India banned the notorious PUBG gaming app and 117 others linked to China. In the last 2 years, India has banned a total of 400 such Chinese apps related to gaming, video editing, video conferencing, music etc.

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