Ban on Chinese Apps: Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000

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This article is written by Muskan Jain, a 1st year law student of Amity University, Chhattisgarh.

Amid the heightened tensions with china along the line of Actual Control (LAC), the Indian government took an unprecedented step and decided to ban at least 59 Chinese apps. This move that has been taken by the government of India will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian citizens. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace. Almost all the apps banned have some preferential Chinese interest and the majority has parent Chinese companies.

Why the government banned 59 apps with links to china?

 It was reported that the government had received an advisory from the intelligence agencies against the use of 59 apps, many of them with link to china, over privacy concern. The government had indeed been closely watching many Chinese apps, over concern of data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. The government of India has made it clear that Chinese apps like Tiktok and UC browser are a threat to national security. Apps like Tiktok are very popular in India, which has over 100 million active users in the country, are a serious threat to Indian citizen. It not only uses your location but also data and information directly from the Sim card. These apps were designed to extract data and park them outside the country, where at a larger stage they could be used to intrude into the privacy of Indian citizens.

 What is the legal basis for India’s action?

 The ban has been enforced under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Sec 69A powers to issue directions for blocking for public access of any information through any computer resource:-

  • where the central government or any of its officers specially authorized by it in this behalf is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do, in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above, it may subject to the provisions of sub-section (2) for reasons to be recorded in writing, by order, direct any agency of the government or intermediary to block for access by the public or cause to be blocked for access by the public any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource.
  • The procedure and safeguards subject to which such blocking for access by the public may be carried out shall be such as may be prescribed.
  • The intermediary who fails to comply with the direction issued under sub- section (1) shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and also be liable to fine.

What will be the impact of the ban?

 As most of these platforms have Indian creators, for many of whom this is the only source of income. Many of these apps have offices and employees in India, and a few thousand jobs could be at stake. The solution given by the government is alternate apps which can be worked as these Chinese apps but with the concern of safeguarding the data and the privacy of Indian citizens. Here is the list of alternate apps:-

               Ban Apps                                        Alternative

  •  Tiktok, helo, likee    –       Bolo indya,  Roposo
  •  Shareit, Xender       –        files by Google
  • UC browser, CM browser-  Google chrome,                                                                           Firefox, Morzilla
  • Camscanner       –            Adobe Scan, Microsoft                                                                       lens
  • Beautyplus        –           B612 Beauty, Filtercamera
  • Club factory, Shein    –    Flipcart, Amazon,                                                                           koovs, myntra,
  • ROMWE              –                  Snapdeal
  • Clash of kings             –        Ludo king
  • Mi community        –             Reddit
  • App lock                   –             Norton App lock
  • Vivavideo           –                  Adobe premier rush
  • Liveme, Kwai           –            periscope
  • UC news, Newsdog     –    Google news, Inshorts
  • Wechat              –      Whatsapp, telegram, hike
  • Parallel space        –      App cloner, Dual apps,
  • Baidu map             –        Google map, HERE map
  • QQ Music            –           VLC, MX player, Jiosavan
  • Mail Master         –               Outlook

References:-

1]https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/india-bans-chinese-apps-impact-explained-6482150/

2]https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/technology/govt-bans-59-chinese-apps-including-tiktok-in-india-heres-why-and-what-it-means-for-users/2008086/

3]https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/india-s-digital-strike-on-china-amid-lac-tensions-govt-decides-to-ban-many-chinese-apps/613777

4]https://www.business-standard.com/article/technology/chinese-apps-banned-in-india-know-apps-status-alternative-apps-and-more-120063000199_1.html

Image from: https://southasiamonitor.org/china-watch/indias-ban-59-chinese-apps-millions-affected

 

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