The Indian government has banned 47 more apps in which some are allowing access to the previously banned apps, and some are simply clones of these apps. To recall, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT's (MEITY) banned 59 Chinese apps on national security grounds amid geopolitical tensions between India and China. The ban took place late last month where many popular apps like TikTok, WeChat, Shareit, UC Browser and more were restricted. That ban was announced under the provisions of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act to "protect national interest and security".
The new ban comes as a follow up where apps that provide access to previously banned apps are in the spotlight. Also, many cloned lite versions of the banned apps have been spotted including TikTok Lite, Helo Lite, ShareIt Lite, Bigo Lite and VFY Lite, which are reportedly unavailable on Google Play Store. A Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology official said, "The apps were found to be operating despite the ban via these versions. They have been taken down from application stores."
TechCrunch reports that one of the newly banned apps will include CamScanner Advanced, which is a popular document scanning app. Economic Times reports that Indian government has listed 275 Chinese apps from Chinese internet companies to examine for any violation of national security and user privacy. As per the report, the list includes PUBG Mobile by Tencent, Zili by Xiaomi, AliExpress by Alibaba and newly launched apps like Resso and Ulike by Bytedance, which also owns TikTok. There are 14 Mi apps by Xiaomi in the list among some other unpopular ones that the company owns. Apps from other Chinese internet and tech majors like Meitu, LBE Tech, Perfect Corp, Sina Corp, Netease Games, Yoozoo Global are also present.
An official told Economic Times, "the government may ban all, some or none from the list." Another senior official told that government is looking to frame a process for such bans, and the concerned ministry is asked to take necessary steps to form some form of law or regulation to scrutinize such apps consistently. "A set of rules or defined procedures may take time but is the correct process to go about it in the future," the official Told ET.
An official from Meity said the government would follow a due process before deciding to ban any app. “There is a process involved, there is a committee in place for such ban orders. If there is such an order, then Meity will act,” the person said. The committee has representatives from the ministries of home affairs, electronics and IT, information & broadcasting and law & justice, along with officials from CERT-In.
We do not have a complete list of 47 banned apps as of now. We will be updating the article as soon as we have more information about the banned apps.