In a press release that was released earlier today, the Indian government has banned 118 mobile apps that are "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity" of India.
The press release goes on to state that the Government of India is invoking section 69A of the Information Technology Act to block 118 mobile apps. This is because India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has received complaints about the "misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms stealing and surrepetituously transmitting users' data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside of India." This follows a previous ban on TikTok earlier in the year.
The government claims that it is about protecting Indians from Chinese spying, with the end of the press release stating that this move (in blocking 118 mobile apps) is to protect the "safety, security, and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace". Whether all of these are uncompliant with the laws in the area, or if this is merely another action in the escalating China/India tension is impossible to discern from here, although Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmed implies that at least some of them are in a tweet.
India's government cited national security issues as the reason for the ban. This comes after tensions between the two countries has risen recently, leading to clashes on the border— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) September 2, 2020
This is a way to retaliate against China, despite apps being compliant and storing data correctly
Games hit by the ban include Arena of Valor, Knives Out, and the highest grossing mobile game in the region PUBG Mobile. At this time, there is no indication of it hitting other Tencent funded or developed projects, instead being only games developed and published in China on mobile devices. If that were to expand, titles like Call of Duty Mobile, Pokemon Unite, and on other platforms games like League of Legends could be impacted. It is also possible that, much like the US took actions to remove Tik Tok from Chinese control in the country, similar actions could come here, citing the Executive Orders by President Trump earlier this year.
The move also comes as a huge blow to India's professional e-sports community, as TSM and Fnatic have Indian PUBG Mobile teams will be affected by this move. We'll have to see how to affects the rest of India's e-sports in the future.
If you're curious as to what specific apps have been banned in India, here's the list below:
List of 118 mobile Apps from China banned by Govt of India over and above the 59 Apps banned earlier. pic.twitter.com/dVqYYJeAnc— Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) September 2, 2020
What do you think of this news? Do you think India was in the right to ban these apps? Let us know in the comments!