New Delhi: Nearly two months after it banned 59 China-linked apps, the government on Wednesday decided to block 118 mobile apps including PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik, WeChat Work and WeChat in view of the information available that they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity, defence and security of India and public order.
The decision came amid border tensions with China in eastern Ladakh.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said in a release that the decision "is a targeted move" to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.
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The ministry said it has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.
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, the MeitY added.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre of Home Ministry has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.
Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India, the release said.
It said there has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India's sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.
"On the basis of these and upon receiving of recent credible inputs that information posted, permissions sought, functionality embedded as well as data harvesting practices of above-stated Apps raise serious concerns that these Apps collect and share data in surreptitious manner and compromise personal data and information of users that can have a severe threat to security of the State," it said.
"In the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India and security of the State. And using the sovereign powers, the Government of India has decided to block the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices," it added.
The release said the government is invoking it's power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and "in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 118mobile apps since in view of the 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".
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Earlier in June this year, 59 apps, most of which were Chinese, had been banned by the Centre in view of the information available that they are engaged in activities which are "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity and defence" of the country.
Almost all the apps banned had some preferential Chinese interest and the majority had parent Chinese companies.