India bans TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps citing national security concerns
India banned the popular Chinese app TikTok and 58 others on Monday after at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a border conflict between troops in both countries this month.
The apps, which range from games to music streaming to social media, “are affecting India’s sovereignty and integrity, India’s defense, state security and public order,” a statement by the Indian Ministry of Information Technology said on Monday.
The prohibited mobile apps include TikTok as well as apps from some of the largest and most influential technology companies in China, including Tencent’s WeChat, Baidu’s Twitter-like platform Weibo and Xiaomi’s Mi Video Call. It is unclear how the ban will be enforced on existing users who have already downloaded the apps to their phones, but it will block potential new users as Apple and Google have to remove these apps from iOS and Android stores.
After the fatal clash in the long-contested Galwan Valley in the western Himalayas, a mood against China has broken out in India. The fallout included widespread calls to boycott Chinese products, including phones and software. Chinese phone maker Oppo has reduced the launch of its latest ultra-premium flagship phone.in the light of the diplomatic flare between the two nuclear-armed nations.
TikTok, which is owned by China’s byte dance, says it is in the process of complying with the Indian ban, and has been invited to meet with government stakeholders to submit clarifications.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said it received several complaints about misuse of mobile apps to “steal user data in an unauthorized manner and secretly transmit it to servers located outside of India.” The government ministry described the situation as “very profound and immediate concern that requires immediate action”.
“TikTok continues to meet all data protection and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared information from our users in India with a foreign government, including the Chinese government.” Nikhil Gandhi, head of TikTok India, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We value user privacy and integrity.”