India’s Government Blocks 43 Mobile Apps to Protect the Security of the State

iPhone with TikTok cover in crowd

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) in India blocked 43 mobile applications on Tuesday. Meity announced on Twitter that they have ordered blocking access to the apps under Section 69A of India’s Information Technology Act.

It looks like they will be continuing to do so until economic and geopolitical compromises are better established in the region. There was a response from the Indian government IT ministry earlier in June when the government blocked 59 Chinese apps. Among these was the giant, TikTok.

118 prominent apps were blocked in September including WeChat Work, PUBG Mobile lite, and Baidu among many others. In terms of September statistics, the amount of blocked Chinese-linked apps was a total of 224.

An additional 43 mobile applications have been blocked once again on Tuesday among which are AliExpress, Alipay Cashier, Chinese Social. Retaliatory responses from India correspond to their tensions with China and the pattern is that it tends to happen right after a geopolitical dispute. These disputes are not uncommon in the region.

Why Apps Continue to be Blocked by The Indian Government

The Indian government has decided on these actions on the basis that these apps are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India.

Detailed reports received from the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center, Ministry of Home Affairs stated that these apps must be blocked to protect the values mentioned above. The official government website states that India will always protect the sovereignty, integrity, and interest of all its citizens on all fronts.

Stealing And Transmitting Data in an Unauthorised Manner

The Meity ministry reveived several reports about the misuse of mobile apps on iOS and Android. Certain mobile apps have been reported to be stealing and transmitting user data to servers outside of India.

The ministry further stated that reports of data mining, profiling, and hostile intentions will require immediate measures. At this point, there are practically no Chinese apps left in the top 500 apps used in India.

Blocking Apps in The Name of National Security

The cybersecurity landscape is not unfamiliar with the blocking of apps in the name of national security. Just earlier this year, Russia blocked access to the encrypted mail service, ProtonMail. Globally known applications such as Skype have also faced similar circumstances. The rise of geopolitical tensions globally has a direct effect on online cybersecurity, privacy, and legislation.

The response from the Indian government has recently developed into even more serious and restrictive measures. The recent economic measures apply directly to India’s foreign investment policy. This policy states that it requires Chinese investors to take approvals from New Delhi before being able to work with Indian firms. This move has dealt a blow to Chinese investments for Indian startups and is forcing companies to find new ways of working with India despite harsh measures.

Apps Are Trying to Sustain Business With India

Some of the most prominent apps in the world such as PUBG Mobile and TikTok have permanently been a big part of India’s tech market. These companies are now trying to make a return despite the issues. One of these is PUBG, a massive multiplayer platform. PUBG wants to invest $100m into India to support tech ecosystems and open offices there.

Tech researcher & communications specialist
Mirza has an education background in Global Communications, has worked in advertising, marketing, journalism and television over the years while living in several different countries. He is now working to consolidate news and outreach at VPNoverview.com, while in his free time he likes to work on documentary projects, read about sociology and write about world events.