The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has taken action against more than 200 apps from foreign ground, most of them Chinese. Some among these 232 apps have been seen as promoting money laundering and gambling. MeitY has put out fresh orders to block such apps after receiving directives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, a statement from the MeitY issues Sunday said. The statement also added that it has started the process of blocking these apps on an “urgent” and “emergency” basis.
The official statement doesn’t reveal any names of apps and there has been no reply on any queries sent to MeitY.
What led to the ban of 200 apps?
Multiple apps have been involved in actions such as betting as well as unauthorised loan servicing. As many as 94 apps were specifically found to be servicing loans sans any authorisation. The other 138 apps had been catering to the money-based gaming markets. An official statement reads that such apps hampered the economic stability of India.
Recently, China has come under the scanner for alleged spying balloon activities. And now with a number if Chinese names cropping up in the app ban news, serious concerns are being raised over the country spying around.
The ban has been initiated under Section 69 of the IT Act. Media reports suggest that the ban is due to material shared by these apps being prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India. Additionally, such apps also pose a security risk to the data of Indian citizens. It is reported that several complaints of extortion and harassment were lodged against these apps. Most of these requests to ban the apps came from Telangana, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh as well as central intelligence agencies.
An end note
Earlier in 2022, a number of Chinese and other offshore apps had been banned in India for having violated norms of online gaming. Despite such crackdowns happening from time to time, the app makers are not deterring from engaging in such violations.
The Indian government might continue to take a hard look at such apps because they can be misused towards engaging in espionage and propaganda.