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India's 'cyber-move' to protect its sovereignty and Integrity.


Recently, India banned over 100 additional apps which were linked to Chinese involvement, thus putting an end to the largest International Markets. In China, Tencent loses nearly $34 billion since the PUBG Mobile ban in India — its second-largest valuation dip this year.

India’s Ministry of Information and Technology has given a green signal to shut down 118 apps which were prejudicial to the nation’s sovereignty, integrity, defence, the security of the state, and public order. The Central government had taken such a bold step to protect the interest of the Indian population using the Internet and smartphones. It is high time for India to have a check upon the security measures to be taken on the cyberspace.

This Primary step of banning other Chinese apps like Search Engines (Baidu), Social Apps (Wechat), Cloud storage apps, China News apps were taken after the detection of malware in the document scanning app (Cam Scanner). It was one of the finest and first Chinese apps to gain mass acceptance in India with 100 million users and according to the Sensor Tower, the app made nearly $1.94 million from the users.


Why this sudden ban?


India lacks advanced Data protection law and advanced cybersecurity where many illegal activities take place. The Ministry of Information Technology has received many grievances from many sources contending that the data are getting illegally transmitted to the wrong sources, where the personal data are sold in Darknet. This is what made the IT ministry to take a strict action against apps that harms India’s Sovereignty as well as Indian Citizens’ privacy.

This can be taken as a cyber-war between the World’s two most populous nations on the Line of Actual Control where the deadliest conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours took place in more than 50 years.


Legal Backgrounds used by the Central Government to Ban the Apps.


Section 69A of the Information Technology Act provides that the Central Government has the power to block Public access to any information through any medium or computer source. The provision mandates that the reasons for blocking such apps or content have to be recorded and must be maintained in writing. Such a procedure for blocking such objectionable content that is harmful to Indian Citizens is laid down under the 2009 rules of the Information Technology Act.

There are two procedures prescribed under the 2009 rules,

  1. When the person who has hosted the information has to go to hearing before the contents are blocked (Rules 06, 07, 08) - The complaint is initiated by any person to the nodal officer, appointed by the Ministry or Department of the Central/ State Government/UTs. When a Nodal officer is satisfied that the grounds provided under Section 69A exists in such a complaint, the committee which comprises the designation officer gives a hearing to the source person of the information or intermediary who hosted the information before blocking the contents.

  2. In the case of emergency in which the designated officer issues an interim order for blocking the content (which breaks the interest of the nation’s sovereignty and integrity) without the hearing (Rule 9), the hearing must be held subsequently after such an interim order is passed and confirmed by the designated officer.

Conclusion

Such vulnerable Contents are blocked by the Central Government by stating its reasons, to the host company to take down the apps so that nobody can download or access such apps. It can also ask the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block traffic to the apps where the impossibility of using such apps is ensured.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shubham Sankhala is third year LLB student.

They can be contacted at shubhamsankhala98@gmail.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/shubham-sankhala-07563215b/

Edited By: Swathi. Ashok. Nair.

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