MHA recommends banning 54 more Chinese apps over security concerns

Some of these apps are reportedly new avatars of the apps that have been banned since 2020.
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The Ministry of Home Affairs has recommended a ban on 54 Chinese mobile applications that pose a threat to the country's security, officials sources told PTI on Monday, February 14. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will formally issue a notification banning the operations of these apps in India.

The apps against whom the adverse security inputs were generated include Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera, Music Player, Music Plus, Volume Booster, Video Players Media all formats, Viva Video Editor, Nice Video Baidu, AppLock and Astracraft, among others, the sources said. This will be the second major action against Chinese apps. Other apps, according to ANI, include Beauty Camera: Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera - Selfie Camera, Equalizer & Bass Booster, CamCard for SalesForce Ent, Isoland 2: Ashes of Time Lite, Viva Video Editor, Tencent Xriver, Onmyoji Chess, Onmyoji Arena, AppLock, Dual Space Lite. 

With this, over 200 Chinese apps have been banned by the Union government citing national security concerns.

The Economic Times reported that some of these apps are part of Chinese tech firms like Tencent and Alibaba, and are new avatars of the apps that have been banned since 2020.

In a statement, Google said: "On receipt of the interim order passed under Section 69A of the IT Act, following established process, we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India.”

In June 2020, the government had first banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat, UC Browser and Xiaomi's Mi Community, over national security concerns amid the border tussle in Eastern Ladakh which led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a bloody clash with Chinese PLA troops in the Galwan Valley.

Apps such as Club Factory, SHAREit, Likee, Mi Video Call (Xiaomi), Weibo, Baidu, BIGO LIVE were also banned. In July 2020, it barred 47 Chinese apps which were largely clones of the 59 apps that were banned in June.

In September 2020, it banned 118 apps including PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile, Baidu and a couple of virtual private networks (VPNs) that allowed access to TikTok.

Other popular banned apps were Baidu Express Edition, ShareSave by Xiaomi, WeChat Work, Tencent Weiyun, Tencent Watchlist, Alipay, GO SMS Pro, ZAKZAK Pro and Live, Smart AppLock and Ludo World-Ludo Superstar, among others

In November 2020, it barred 43 more, including shopping website AliExpress owned by e-commerce behemoth Alibaba. WeWorkChina, CamCard and Snack. 

These apps were banned by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for engaging in activities that are "prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, defence, security of the state and public order".

With inputs from agencies

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