Indian Government requests details about data collection and location of data centres from banned apps

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on 10 Jul 2020
Indian Government requests details about data collection and location of data centres from banned apps
HIGHLIGHTS

The Government of India banned TikTok, UC Browser and 57 other Chinese apps last month.

Now the government has sent a questionnaire to the companies who own the apps as a follow-up to the ban.

The questionnaire seeks details regarding the app's data collection practices, location of operational centers and more.

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The banned apps of Chinese origin have been asked to furnish details about their data collection practices, location of operational centers and more to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), according to a report by Hindustan Times.

The Government of India banned TikTok, Shareit and 57 other apps at a time when border tensions between India and China are at an all-time high.

The report states that a questionnaire seeking the details was sent by the ministry to the parent companies of the apps, as a follow-up to the ban.

“The emails have been sent to them so that we can collate and analyse more details about the operations of the applications. This is a part of the process under the IT Act,” an anonymous MeitY official was quoted in the report.

The government invoked relevant provisions under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 to ban the apps from the Indian webspace, citing engagement “in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

A TikTok spokesperson had said the app has already reached out to the government with relevant details regarding their operations and would be challenging the ban. India is one of the largest markets for the short video platform. Within days of the ban, homegrown alternatives to TikTok have cropped up, racking in the downloads. Even Instagram didn't want to let go of the opportunity and started testing the Reels feature in India.

"TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government," Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok India said in a statement.

For now, the 59 apps that are banned have been taken down from the Google Playstore and the Apple App Store. A panel has also been set up to hear the representations of the owners of the apps. The panel will include officials from MeitY, Home Ministry, CERT-In and the law ministry, in according with provisions under Section 69A of the IT Act.

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