India today banned 59 apps developed in China, including TikTok, WeChat and Weibo, saying they are “prejudicial to sovereignty”.
The move was announced this afternoon (June 29) by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Security.
The move is expected by analysts to impact over 500 million users. TikTok counts India as its largest overseas market.
It comes after India and China clashed on their disputed border earlier this month, resulting in deaths on both sides.
The Ministry said: “In view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
It did not specify how their dissemination would be blocked.
Google said it had yet to receive the order from New Delhi. Apple said it is reviewing the order, according to local press reports.
For safety, security, defence, sovereignty & integrity of India and to protect data & privacy of people of India the Government has banned 59 mobile apps.
Jai Hind! 🇮🇳
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) June 29, 2020
The Ministry said it had received “many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.”
It added: “The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.
India’s move today came the same day that the company updated its data policy and said that it would be changing its data controllers for users in the EEA, Switzerland and the UK from July 29.
Among the clarifications in the new policy: that TikTok “where local laws allow us” collects and processes private messages,” which includes scanning and analysing the information in those messages through the Platform’s messaging functionality. That information includes the content of the message and information about when the message has been sent, received and/or read, as well as the participants in the communication.”