The government of India on Wednesday blocked 118 more mobile applications, including player unknowns battle grounds (PUBG), in the interest of “sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence oof India, security of the state and public order” invoking Section 69 of Information Technology Act.
The banned apps include Baidu, Baidu Express Edition, Tencent Watchlist, FaceU, WeChat Reading and Tencent Weiyun, besides PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite, according to an official statement.
“The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India invoking it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 118 mobile apps since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” the Ministry said in an official release.
The Ministry said it has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India”.
“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures. The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.. Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India. There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against Apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.