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India hits exit button on 47 more Chinese apps

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on July 27, 2020 Published on July 27, 2020

A majority are new versions of 59 apps blocked last month

After banning 59 Chinese apps last month, the Centre on Monday has banned another 47 similar apps including Likee Lite, Bigo Live Lite and CamScanner HD.

Likee Lite is the compact version of the popular video creation and sharing app, Likee, which was part of the apps banned last month. The lite version was launched after that and have managed to garner significant number of downloads.

Some lite versions of these banned apps, especially Likee Lite, have found a workaround and have managed to garner a significant number of downloads. Similarly, Bigo Live Lite and CamScanner HD were also new versions which are banned now.

 

"Most of these (47 apps) banned are newer versions of the ones banned last month," a government source told BusinessLine adding that it was looking for more such apps which can compromise on national security.

Last month, the number apps blocked include TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser and Cam Scanner, Kwai, Baidu map, DU battery saver, Likee, YouCam makeup, Mi Community, Virus Cleaner, Club Factory, Newsdog, WeChat, Weibo, Xender,We Meet, Sweet Selfie, Baidu Translate and QQ Launcher.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and IT had also indicated these apps are threat to the national security and had said, "For safety, security, defence, sovereignty and integrity of India and to protect data and privacy of people of India the government has banned 59 mobile apps."

Meanwhile, Indian counterparts of such apps were happy to hear such announcements and said that for a long time, such Chinese apps were spying on users and sending back the data to China.

For instance, homegrown Chingari app, which is a competitor to TikTok and Likee said that the Indian citizens need to be very concerned of our data, and make sure it remains within India.

"As we've said before, we at Chingari have always been on top of this. Hence, we decided to never take any funds from China nor use any of their technology in our app," Sumit Ghosh, Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder, Chingari, said.

Sajai Singh, Partner at J Sagar Associates, said that the ban is neither unique nor surprising and India is not the only country who is thinking on these lines.

"It is a global trend where countries are becoming more careful of safeguarding their citizens’ data. Different countries adopt different mechanisms. There is no to-do manual on protecting citizen’s personal data. As Indian use of smartphones heads towards 442 million in 2022, with wide availability of cheap data plans, India is recognising the risk to personal data of its citizens," he said.

He further said that in China, many large companies, including telecom, OTT and others, are closely linked with the State. This obviously raises red flags for nations when it comes to data of its citizens.

Time will only tell whether India was the first mover or the only country taking such a decision, he added.

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Published on July 27, 2020
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