These apps have been criticized for posing security risks due to improper data handling.
Update, June 30 (9:30 am ET): TikTok has made its app unavailable in resposnse to the ban. The company issued a statement on social media confirming this.
What you need to know
- India’s government has just banned 59 mobile apps of Chinese origin.
- The list of banned apps includes popular ones like TikTok, Shareit, and UC Browser.
- Some of Xiaomi’s apps like Mi Video Call and Mi Community are also now banned in the country.
The Indian Government has just banned a handful of Chinese mobile apps in its country. These include popular apps like the social media service, TikTok, messaging super app WeChat, and UC Browser among others.
List of 59 apps banned by Government of India “which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. pic.twitter.com/p6T2Tcd5rI
— ANI (@ANI) June 29, 2020
In a statement, the government explained its reasoning, saying:
The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.
The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.
In other words, these companies are accused of storing user data in possibly insecure locations without proper disclosure. As the Ministry notes, concerns over these apps have been raised time and time again. TikTok especially has seen itself lurch from controversy to controversy, with the most recent one being its excessive and overly intrusive clipbard access being highlighted by iOS 14.
According to the Economic Times, sources inside the Indian government hope that its ban will prod other countries into taking stronger action against these apps.
It’s not clear how the government will enforce this ban, but it’s likely to mean that the App Store and Play Store will no longer be allowed to make them available for download in India.
Update, June 30 (9:30 am ET) — TikTok complies with the ban
TikTok India issued a statement this morning. The company has complied with the ban, disabling the app in Inidia and pulling it from mobile app stores. TikTok further noted that it has been invited to meet with government stakeholders to address their concerns. TechCrunch reports that most of the other apps in the list have yet to pull their apps from either Google or Apple’s stores.