Govt move to ban over 230 apps linked to China 'on immediate priority basis'

Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has issued orders to block these apps following instructions from Ministry of Home Affairs.

Published: 05th February 2023 02:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th February 2023 08:19 PM   |  A+A-

Mobile Phone

Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AFP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The government over the weekend took steps to block over 230 apps including 138 betting and about 94 loan apps, which were traced to Chinese links, on an immediate priority basis.

According to sources in the government, the move has been initiated by the Ministry of Electronic and Telecom following the directions of the Home Ministry which has been tracking these apps for over six months. “These apps were under surveillance since last year and the recent move was initiated after due diligence and investigations by the cyber and digital surveillance wings” an official in the home ministry confirmed.

The matter was initiated under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act which grants authorisation to the Government with the power to issue directions for interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource on a priority basis in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India or security of the State.

The matter came under the scanner early last year when the Home Ministry noticed a high proliferation of Chinese ‘loan apps.' More than 270 such apps were also removed from the Play Store last year following intervention by the government, sources confirmed.

The latest action on the 138 betting and 94 loan apps comes following investigations that though most apps were removed last year “the apps in question were being made available on the app stores through third party links,” sources said.

In fact, the matter of proliferation and surveillance of these apps has come up several times during coordination meetings of the intel and policing agencies towards the end of 2022, where the need to focus on surveillance, monitoring and spreading awareness through capacity building was discussed.

The e matter was also addressed on priority following an increase in the number of cases of suicide, particularly in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, by those who lost money to betting apps or took loans using these apps.

Since June 2020, India has banned over 300 Chinese apps, including WeChat, TikTok, Shareit, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and the Mi apps.


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