43 More Mobile Apps Banned | 25 Nov 2020

Why in News

Recently, the government of India has blocked 43 new mobile apps, mostly Chinese, in the country, including shopping website AliExpress.

Key Points

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology banned these mobile apps under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act (IT Act), 2000.
    • Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, was introduced by an amendment to the Act in 2008.
      • It gives the Central government the power to block public access to any information online whether on websites or mobile apps.
      • Under Section 69A, if a website threatens India’s defence, its sovereignty and integrity, friendly relations with foreign countries and public order, the government can ban it, after following due procedure.
      • Detailed procedures to do so are listed under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.
  • Reasons behind banning apps:
    • The action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.
    • Government has received many complaints from various sources about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.
    • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center, Ministry of Home Affairs also gave a comprehensive report against the misuse of the apps.
  • Implications of the Ban:
    • The decision to ban these apps, which comes amid continuing tensions between India and China, is the clear message from India that it will no longer be a victim of China’s Nibble and Negotiate policy and will review the norms of engagement.
    • The ban may affect one of China’s most ambitious goals, namely to become the digital superpower of the 21st century.
    • It will provide a good opportunity for Indian entrepreneurs to quickly rise to fill market gaps. This is also great for the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission.

Way Forward

  • World today recognises that the next source of economic growth lies in the digital economy and given its raw material being data, thereby whoever builds the electronic backbone will have enormous advantages over everyone else.
  • India must speed up indigenisation, research and development and frame-up a regulatory architecture to claim data sovereignty.