Privacy has been a huge concern and it is only on the rise especially when it comes to logging data from social media applications like TikTok, Facebook, WhatsApp etc. What makes things worse is the growing hostility in Indo-China relations which has already resulted in imposing bans on Chinese applications and services. After some speculation it is now confirmed that the Indian government will be imposing a permanent ban on TikTok and 58 other Chinese applications.
59 Chinese Apps Permanently Banned: MeitY
In June, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had pushed for the ban of many applications that originated from China. The Chinese applications came under the radar when their business strategies jeopardized the protection of the data collected from the users thus compromising on user’s privacy.
TikTok and WeChat alongside a boatload of other applications ended up being banned. In the year 2020, India banned over 200 odd Chinese applications. Another popular Chinese gaming app, PUBG Mobile, went under the bus alongside its other counterparts. PUBG Mobile tried to relaunch itself in India under the name PUBG Mobile India after it hired new staff force in India. Later on, it was found out as a reaction to many RTIs that MeitY never gave permission to relaunch PUBG Mobile in India.
ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company here in India, held onto hundreds of its employees even post the initial ban was imposed. The workforce had shifted focus onto TikTok’s global operations during this time.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) highlighted its dissatisfaction towards the response it had received from these applications and the firms has led to the permanence of the ban to be enforced. The apps were banned under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.
As data reaches new heights of value where we transition from consumers to products, standing up for our rights to data privacy has a new and profound importance. WhatsApp has been served a notice by the MeitY as well to update its policy after the company notified the users regarding the usage of their chat metadata collection which would later be used by the parent company, Facebook, to push targetted ads. As the tensions along with the border rise, India wants to levy weight on the Chinese industries to ensure its stance against exploitation of any kind.