India on Wednesday banned more than 100 mobile apps. Including the hugely popular PUBG mobile gaming app, after banning 59 Chinese apps in the first round earlier this year. The apps have been banned for data security reasons. Right after the new tensions between India and China in the border area of eastern Ladakh.
The country’s electronics and information technology ministry said on Wednesday it would block 118 additional apps that “are engaged in activities that [are] detrimental to India’s sovereignty and integrity. The defense of India, state security and public order”.
The list also includes Chinese search giant Baidu and Alipay, the mobile payment app of Ant Group, the financial arm of Alibaba (BABA) of Jack Ma. In June, the government banned 59 mobile apps. Including Bytedance’s TikTok, Alibaba’s UC browser and Tencent’s WeChat, also citing security concerns.
Explaining its latest decision, the ministry said it has received numerous complaints about the misuse of certain mobile apps on Android and iOS platforms to steal and surreptitiously transmit user data to servers outside India.
“The collection of this data, its extraction and profiling by elements hostile to the national security and defense of India. Which ultimately affects the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern,. That requires emergency measures, ” said the statement.
The home Ministry’s cybercrime center also recommended blocking these “malicious applications,” the government said.
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The statement referred to bipartisan concerns raised within and outside parliament and a strong chorus to crack down on applications.. “That harm the sovereignty of India as well as the privacy of our citizens.”
The decision to ban Tencent’s mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG, could be especially damaging. PUBG was the best mobile game by monthly active users in India last year, according to analytics firm AppAnnie.
The moves are the latest sign that the relationship between India and China is deteriorating. The two countries, both nuclear powers, have been increasingly at odds since a deadly border clash in June.