In a major crackdown, the Centre has initiated the process to block 138 betting and 94 loan-lending Chinese apps on an emergency basis.

“The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued blocking orders based on emergency request by the Nodal officer of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA),” a top official at MeitY told businessline

Without giving further details or names of the apps, the official said, “These 138 gambling websites and 94 loan apps were engaging in illegal money laundering and were posing threat to the financial security of our nation.”

According to sources, the MHA had recommended banning/blocking these apps last week, and MeitY subsequently initiated the process. The move was taken after confirming that these apps attract Section 69 of the IT Act.

The action is based on several complaints of extortion and harassment of common people who had availed small amounts of loans through the mobile apps being run by those entities and persons. It is learnt that these apps are the brainchild of Chinese nationals who hired Indians and made them directors in the operation.

Misuse of data

In February last year, the government had banned 54 Chinese apps because they were either the cloned version or had similar functionalities, privacy issues and security threats as alleged in previously blocked 267 apps in 2020. Those 54 apps were allegedly obtaining various critical permissions and collecting sensitive user data, according to the MHA.

According to the government, those apps collected real-time data that were being misused and transmitted to servers located in hostile country. “This will enable them to compile huge personal data to mine, collate, analyse and profile by the elements,” MeitY had said.