India bans 59 Chinese apps including TikTok and WeChat

01 July 2020 | Abigail Opiah

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#RIPTiktok was recently trending on Twitter following India’s decision to bans 59 Chinese apps.

India's government has banned TikTok and other Chinese-made apps, as the officials labelled them “a danger to the country”.

A total of 59 apps were banned, including the messaging app WeChat, with India’s Ministry of Information Technology stating the apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".

“The Indian government's decision to ban 59 Chinese apps due to rising tensions with China is a primarily political move designed to send a message to the Chinese Communist Party,” said Ray Walsh, Digital Privacy Expert at ProPrivacy.

“That doesn't mean it has no genuine basis in data-privacy The decision will drastically reduce the amount of data passing from Indian citizens to Chinese authorities, via seemingly innocuous and hugely popular apps such as TikTok.

“These apps are known to harvest huge amounts of data from their users, resulting in covert international surveillance for the Chinese government.”

Walsh added that Chinese apps like TikTok have only been banned for use by the military for reasons of national security.

“The Indian government has decided enough is enough and gone one step further has banning a number of Chinese apps outright,” added Walsh.

“This is the first time that we have seen nationwide blocks on potentially invasive Chinese apps.

“Although the ban is likely to be controversial among Indian citizens - many of whom enjoy using TikTok, it may well cause other world leaders to consider whether they could or should impose similar sanctions.”

India's Ministry of Information Technology said that the reasoning behind the ban of the 59 Chinese apps was because they received "many complaints from various sources" about apps that were "stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner".

In 2019, ByteDance, the parent company of the social media video app TikTok has confirmed that the launch of a data centre facility in India is on the way.

Talking to Business Standard, the company revealed in a statement that it has been storing its data in third party data centres now, but will be taking its expansion stategy to the next level with the company’s very own data centre facility.

Just over a month ago, ByteDance announced it has named Kevin Mayer Chief Operating Officer (COO) of ByteDance and CEO of TikTok.