New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) – India on Monday blocked 54 more apps with Chinese links, including Tencent Xriver, Nice Video baidu, Viva Video Editor, and gaming app Garena Free Fire Illuminate, citing security and privacy concerns.
According to sources, these 54 apps allegedly obtain various critical permissions and collect sensitive user data.
The collected real-time data are being misused and transmitted to servers located in a hostile country, they added.
The banned apps were allegedly engaged in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, also posing serious threat to security of the state and defence of India, the sources said.
IT ministry has issued interim directions for the blocking of 54 apps, the sources said.
In a statement, Google said: “On receipt of the interim order passed under Section 69A of the IT Act, following established process, we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India.”
The list of banned mobile apps include Beauty Camera: Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera – Selfie Camera, Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade, Viva Video Editor, Tencent Xriver amongst others.
Other apps that have been banned, as per fresh orders, include Garena Free Fire Illuminate, Astracraft, FancyU pro, MoonChat, Barcode Scanner – QR Code Scan, and Lica Cam.
The crackdown marks the first such step taken this year after a massive sweep against the Chinese apps in 2020.
In June 2020, the government had banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including the hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.
The 2020 ban — that had come in the backdrop of stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh with Chinese troops — was also applicable for WeChat and Bigo Live, besides Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein.
Thereafter, the government banned 47 more Chinese apps that were clones and variants of the apps blocked earlier.
In September the same year, the government blocked 118 more mobile applications, including the popular gaming app PUBG, terming them prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and defence of the nation.
The banned apps in that lot included Baidu, Baidu Express Edition, Tencent Watchlist, FaceU, WeChat Reading and Tencent Weiyun, besides PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite.
On Monday, the sources said the IT ministry received a request for the blocking of 54 apps from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) under the emergency provision envisaged in Section 69(A) of the Information Technology (IT) Act.