PUBG mobile is making a comeback in India as Battleground Mobile India, but its imminent launch is currently embroiled in controversy. Krafton, the South Korean company that owns Battleground Mobile India, has already made the game available in early access in the country to over 5 million users.
PUBG was banned in India last year for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users data" to servers outside India. The makers promised to launch a new game in the country after severing all ties with China, but many quarters are convinced that this isn’t the case.
An investigation by IGN revealed that Battleground Mobile India is still transferring data of Indian users to China Mobile Communications servers in Beijing, Tencent’s Proxima Beta in Hong Kong, and Microsoft Azure servers located in Mumbai, Moscow, and the US. The game also continues to ping a few other Tencent servers when it boots up.
This certainly seems like a misstep that could cost Krafton dearly. This also seems to violate the earlier commitment and expectedly caused some uproar. Krafton promptly stirred into action and has already pushed out a fix. The minor update installs when you run the game and stops communication with servers in China.
The policy also states that your data may be transferred “to other countries and/or regions to operate the game service and/or to meet legal requirements. The legal basis for such processing is compliance with a legal obligation to which we are subject to or are legitimate interests, such as exercise or defence of legal claims.”
In case the data is transferred to another country or region, Krafton will “ensure that your information receives the same level of protection as if it remained in India.”
Several politicians from both the ruling party and the opposition have sought action against Battleground Mobile India.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written a letter to Union IT and Communication Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanding to ban Battlegrounds Mobile India, raising concerns over its Chinese affiliations and citing it as a threat to national security. The confederation also urges Google to remove the app from its Play Store.
CAIT isn’t the only body demanding a ban. Earlier, MP Arvind Dharmapuri from Telangana's Nizamabad, wrote a letter to Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad seeking action against the game. The MP reasons that with Tencent being the second-largest stakeholder in Krafton, the latter will be bound to share data of Indian citizens.
In May, Ninong Ering, MLA from Arunachal Pradesh, claimed that the Indian company Nodwin Gaming raised Rs. 164 Crore funding from Krafton, has ties with Tencent
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