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Digital players hail move to ban Chinese apps, call it digital aatmanirbhar moment

In a late night move yesterday (June 29, 2020), the Ministry of Information Technology, 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 59 Chinese 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 Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps. This Ministry has also received many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps. The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received many representations from citizens regarding security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues. 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.

Also read:
TikTok, UC Browser, WeChat, Helo, Likee among 59 apps banned by Indian Govt

On the basis of these and upon receiving of recent credible inputs that such Apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices.

This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.

As reported earlier by Adgully, 52 Chinese were flagged as threat to national security by the Indian intelligence agencies earlier this month, now the Modi Government has banned 59 mobile apps which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.

Industry Reactions

Naveen Tewari, Founder and CEO, InMobi Group:

“This is the digital aatmanirbhar moment that most Indians have been rooting for. As the No. 1 one top video app on the Google Play Store, Roposo is very well positioned to lead this movement. Roposo will continue to build on the trust and love that 65 million Indian users have placed in us.”

Berges Malu, Director - Public Policy, ShareChat, an Indian regional social media platform:

“This is a welcome move from the Government against platforms that have had serious privacy, cyber security and national security risks. We expect the government to continue their support for the Indian start-up ecosystem.”

Sumit Ghosh, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Chingari App, an emerging competitor to TikTok:

“This is a very good step taken by the Government of India and the IT Ministry of India. For a very long time TikTok has been spying on users and sending back the data to China. We are happy that this step has been finally taken. I thank and congratulate Narendra Modi sir and we assure we would like to welcome all the users of TikTok to come and try our Chingari, which is a 100% India grown app, and made for the passionate Indians.”

Shudeep Majumdar, CEO and Director of Corporate Affairs, Zefmo Media Pvt Ltd

“While the influencer marketing industry is fully supportive of the ban on Chinese apps, millions of Indian creators will now need to find local alternatives to express themselves on social media. Many popular influencers on TikTok shifted to YouTube during the last couple of months due to the ensuing debate between the two social media platforms. However, millions continued their presence on TikTok due to the instant format connection of the social media platform. And they will be greatly impacted. Also, live streaming apps like Bigo and others that allowed creators from smaller towns and villages to showcase their talent will now need to find other outreach mediums. Influencers who used to make an earning by being on some Chinese made app or the other have to quickly shift to other apps and they need to rely on the tried and tested apps, namely – Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It will be back to basics and building their following from scratch. The influencer community needs to align itself with the national interest and should not lose heart."

Irfan Khan, digital marketing expert and Partner at Yaap

“The announcement of the ban on a list of Chinese apps including popular apps like TikTok which has about 100 million active users in India along with other upcoming platforms like Helo and Likee has the potential to transform app and entertainment landscape in India. While TikTok catered to audiences across the country, Helo and Likee are extremely popular with Indians looking for regional and vernacular content. The ban on these apps has created an immediate vacuum as the users will be looking for substitutes. One can already see this happening as apps like Chingari, Roposo and Mitron have seen a huge spike in download right after the announcement, as high as 1,00,000 per minute. The Indian app ecosystem has a big opportunity knocking on their door and the question is if they can capitalize on this."

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