The government of India has banned 59 apps with links to China to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace. It is true that the government has been mulling the ban for some time now, closely examining the risks involved with using these apps on a per app basis, after red flags were raised by several unnamed sources, i.e, intelligence agencies.
In a press release, the ministry of information technology has confirmed the ban on 59 apps with links to China for allegedly engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order. The ban was fast-tracked by Home Minister Amit Shah after the 15 June violent confrontation between soldiers of India and China at eastern Ladakh’s Galwan valley that spiralled tensions between the two neighbours.
In an official notification, the govt said:
“The Ministry of Information Technology, 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 59 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.”
Today Beijing said it was “strongly concerned” about New Delhi’s decision to ban 59, mostly Chinese, mobile applications such as TikTok, UC Browser and WeChat, stressed on cooperation between the two countries and underlined that the ban would go against “India’s interests”. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “China is strongly concerned about the relevant notice issued by the Indian side. We are checking on and verifying the situation. I want to stress that the Chinese government always asks the Chinese businesses to abide by international rules, local laws and regulations in their business cooperation with foreign countries.The Indian government has the responsibility to uphold the legitimate and legal rights of the international investors including the Chinese ones.The practical cooperation between China and India is actually mutually beneficial and win-win. Such a pattern has been artificially undermined and it is not in the interest of the Indian side”.
Among all other banned Chinese apps two of them are gaming apps which includes Mobile Legends and Clash of Kings and the news has hit hard the fans of these games, as they started posting their uncut feelings about the fact on Twitter and all other social media platforms:
all the money I’ve spent on mobile legends just for the country to ban it omfg I’m rioting https://t.co/pAhSnVyljd
— rin (@halfemptyboyy) June 29, 2020
@narendramodi @PMOIndia @AmitShah
You people going crazy and putting a ban on Chinese apps , the money I have spent in mobile legends , will that amount be reverted back in my account by the government of India , you idiots , useless mind fuckers , you cannot handle you country.
— Chaitanya Balwada (@Call_me_Bishop) June 30, 2020
Banning Mobile Legends will definitely not go down well with the North East. Also, the ban is potentially a barrier to India’s fledgling e-sports scene. MLBB has featured in Olympic-recognised Southeast Asian Games. https://t.co/oEsvui3uo3
— Shivam Bahuguna (@JanusBlinked) June 29, 2020
so much to the Indian esports ,we have big tournaments MRL, ISC and many more.Indian esports do depend on ML like they do on PUBG too. So, we oppose the ban of Mobile legends in india
— Ray_Bit (@ray_v101) June 30, 2020
That is a very good decision taken by GOI to ban 59 Chinese app from india.
— Himanshu kumar #कोरोना को हराना है। (@Himanshu_Kumar3) June 29, 2020
While Mobile Legends and Clash of Kings fans stormed on social media we reached out to some of the Indian gaming industry heads. For the matter of fact there has been a 12 times growth of Chinese investments in Indian start-ups over the past four years from $381 million in 2016 to $4.6 billion in 2019 with a majority of unicorns in India including gaming startups being backed by corporates and pure-play investment firms from China, according to data and analytics firm GlobalData. Therefore some preferred to remain silent on our request to comment on the 59 Chinese App ban. On the other hand some believes that it is the perfect move by the government to secure data and signaling Indian entrepreneurs to invent made in India alternatives for the banned apps. Here is what some of the gaming companies have to say:
Pacific Gaming CEO and director Archit Narayan,”We welcome the government’s move to hold companies liable with the larger interest of the safety of the country. Data governance is of utmost importance in any online medium. As technology progresses, individuals need to be extremely careful about the data they share online. As you may know, your private data is the commodity that most of these companies sell to other business via advertising. In the interest of national security, the government should take necessary actions. However, if an organization is able to prove that they are not at fault, they should be able to provide their services.”
Skyesports founder and CEO Shiva Nandy says, “There is no major threat to Indian Gaming. The ban is on Chinese apps which has security threats, which transmit data to external servers. This concern is valid for any app which breaches privacy/app security.”
Trell co-founder Pulkit Agrawal says, “We are very appreciative of the bold decision the government has made, taking us closer to a new Aathmanirbhar India. This is going to change the trajectory and create a whole new revolution for our swadeshi apps. With this new move, startups like ours will play a great role in boosting the Indian economy and help build an Independent tech & startup ecosystem. We are all geared up and ready to be a part of the Digital India revolution and enable our creators to earn a sustainable income while they focus their efforts to make in India.”
Rooter CEO and founder Piyush says “Govt banning Chinese apps is a great initiative to ensure privacy of Indian user data and to protect the country against the potential threat these apps pose to our national security. This step can prove to be a golden moment in Indian startup journey with Made in India apps getting a rare opportunity to onboard those users and provide them with these services. Indian technology ecosystem has come a long way in last five to six years and is at par with the capabilities of any other startup ecosystem in the world. We welcome this move and we hope Indians will chose apps which are made in India, for India.”
PokerDangal CEO and founder Varun Mahna says “The way the online poker industry of India operates is significantly different from these Chinese applications’ industry, where the primary objective of these Chinese app manufacturers is to generate more and more business, by digging deep into their customers’ pain-points, the Poker industry, which we are part of, is more nation oriented. Our sole aim is to build a trustable platform, where the public can enjoy their time without any fear of data breach or youth decay. We also believe that the step our government has taken is appreciative and in total support of our nation’s free-standing. Also, concerning the legalised policies of India that we follow sincerely, I am quite sure that something like this would never happen to our industry.”