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Online Life and Privacy

The Indian government has banned 59 Chinese apps claiming that the apps are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, defence, security, and the public order of the nation. On 29 June 2020, a step was taken by the Indian government in the backdrop of the current stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh with Chinese troops. Ban over apps marks the largest sweep against Chinese technology companies. The Ministry of Information Technology, invoking its power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 59 Chinese apps. While banning the Chinese apps, the Ministry of Information Technology said that it has received complaints and reports of these apps “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India”.




Why was the Ban Necessary?


In 2017, China passed National Intelligence Law, under which if China wants data from any of the Chinese companies, then a company has been bound to give the data to the Chinese government. Also, if a company wants to start a business in China, it is made mandatory for that company to collaborate with a Chinese company, otherwise cannot start a company in China. Apart from this, all the Chinese apps data has been stored in China only so by using this data they can spy on us that is why it is necessary to ban the apps.

The Indian government has reported that many people have raised various concerns regarding data protection and privacy loss while using such apps in representations to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). The ministry also said that it had sought "exhaustive recommendations" from the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre at the Home Ministry.


Consequences Faced By China Due to The App Ban


The ban will narrow the growth of Chinese technology firms and it may embolden other countries to do the same. The Chinese apps like Share it, UC browser, and TikTok are the most popular apps in India. India has the highest number of Tiktok users, since 2017 it has been downloaded 660 million times. According to a report, TikTok earns 30-40% of its total income from India they aimed to earn 100 crores till September. However, the ban on these apps by the Indian Government will be a big blow to China. According to a report, Bytedance could lose around ₹45000 crore due to a ban over Tiktok in India.


Conclusion - Ban to be a boon for Indian Start-ups


For years, India's tech start-ups have struggled to compete with the digital offerings of Chinese companies, typically backed by huge volumes of capital, and capable of undertaking relentless and wide-scale marketing campaigns. With the lack of institutional support from the government, India's tech start-up ecosystem has struggled to secure the same levels of investment that Chinese-backed firms receive. So now, it is a great opportunity for Indian technology companies to develop their apps.

As the government banned 59 Chinese apps in the first list and as this type of ban can also happen in the future, the government said that they could ban more apps that are suspicious about privacy and data leak in the 2nd and 3rd list. So Indians have to take this ban as an opportunity to grow its marker and stop relying on the other countries. There are many alternatives to these apps which are already available on the Play Store and other platforms. So, it won't be a big deal to switch from these apps. Union Minister for Communications, Electronics& IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the ban allows an opportunity for the Indians to come up with apps themselves and the Indian market is capable of doing this. So this is the right time to strengthen the initiative Make in India as Indians have to reduce their reliance on foreign things.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raj Singh is currently pursuing Law at Alliance University, Bangalore.

They can be contacted at https://www.linkedin.com/in/raj-singh-8a4a4b1a4

.Edited by: Swathi Ashok Nair

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