Indian Express (2 September 2020) – The Information and Technology Ministry on Wednesday banned the hugely popular gaming app PUBG Mobile and 117 other Chinese-linked mobile applications. PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik, PUBG MOBILE LITE, WeChat Work & WeChat reading are among the banned mobile apps. In July, the government had banned 47 apps, which were clones or variants of Chinese-linked 59 apps earlier banned in June.
In a statement, the government said it blocked 118 mobile apps that are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence of India, Security of State and Public Order”.
On June 29, the Centre had banned 59 apps citing the “emergent nature of threats” from mobile applications, including popular ones of Chinese origin such as TikTok, ShareIt, UCBrowser, Club Factory and CamScanner. It said the move was based on information that they were engaged in activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity”, defence, security and public order.
The government said it had invoked powers under Section 69A of the IT Act, read with relevant provisions of the IT (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009, to ban these apps. The bone of contention was data-sharing norms under a Chinese law that requires companies of Chinese origin to share data with that country’s intelligence agencies, irrespective of where they operate.
The move was then seen as a retaliatory step amid the tense border standoff between India and China that led to 20 Indian Army personnel being killed on June 15. State-owned telecom companies also moved to keep Chinese vendors out of their network upgradation tenders.