‘More Chinese apps to be banned soon, govt preparing fresh list’

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |

November 29, 2020 12:54:00 am

India has banned around 267 apps since June but the redressal mechanism for the first set is far from over. (Express photo)

The government is in the process of preparing a fresh list of Chinese mobile apps that would be banned very shortly. Sources said since there’s no comprehensive list of Chinese apps that can be banned in one go, the process adopted is to follow the apps that find traction in app stores and are being downloaded the most. Once this is done, strict monitoring is done and action taken.

There are several apps, which, despite being banned, reappear through proxies and, therefore, continuous monitoring needs to be done.

The strategy of the government is clear. By banning more and more Chinese apps at regular intervals and then providing them the route to present their case before an inter-ministerial panel, the pace of bans would be far ahead of the redressal mechanism process.

For instance, on November 24, the government banned a fresh set of 43 Chinese mobile apps, including the likes of Alibaba Workbench, CamCard and a host of dating apps among others, by invoking Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, which empowers it to block apps/content that are engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of the country, its defence, security of state and public order.

This is the fourth instance of the government banning Chinese apps since the India-China border skirmish erupted. The government had first banned 59 apps, including TikTok, WeChat, etc, on June 29, followed by another set of 47 apps in July, which were proxies of the banned apps. On September 2, it banned 118 Chinese mobile apps, which included the popular gaming platform PUBG as well as Baidu, which is China’s largest search engine provider.

In all, around 267 apps have been banned since June but the redressal mechanism for the first set is far from over.

In the case of app bans, the law is such that the government does not need to first serve a notice to the companies concerned and wait for their replies. The companies concerned also cannot approach courts for any interim relief. FE

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