- Chinese government media said – This decision will affect the Indian companies in which investment has come from China.
Jun 30, 2020, 10:21 PM IST
new Delhi. Some 1500 years ago there was a philosopher in China. The name was Lao Tsu. They used to say- The journey of thousands of miles starts with a small step. India too has started a long journey for China's Bycott by banning 59 Chinese apps on Monday night.
India has taken this step 14 days after a clash with Chinese troops in the Galvan Valley, while the government knew for three years that there was a threat from these apps. In the eyes of experts, this decision is to send a message to China. With this, a debate has started on how important the ban was on these apps and what is the meaning behind it?
1. First thing of the government: How did these apps get banned?
There is a section in IT law made in 2000- 69A. This section says that if the government feels in the interest of sovereignty, security and unity of the country, it can order any computer resource to be blocked for the common people. This section says that if the order of the government is not met, it can be punishable with imprisonment up to seven years and a fine can also be imposed. 59 apps have been banned under this section.
What reason did the government give for this?
The order issued by the government mentions sovereignty and unity 7 times. There are 7 reasons behind the ban. These reasons are-
- These apps threaten India's security, sovereignty and unity.
- Privacy and data of 130 crore Indians are threatened. Complaints were received.
- From these apps, the user's data is stolen and sent to a server outside India.
- These data can reach enemies.
- The Indian Cybercrime Coordination Center has recommended banning them.
- There are concerns about these apps inside and outside Parliament. The public was also demanding action.
- It has been decided to ban apps for the security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.
2. Now the user's point: Apart from the pleas of the government, understand why you were at risk from Chinese apps?
App companies get access to phone book, location, video from the user. After that they track every activity of the user and start keeping its data. Profiling is done by understanding the user's financial capacity and buying patterns. This data is also shared with the Chinese government.
When the data reaches China, the government there helps in building a strategy according to the market of India. Most Chinese apps have servers not in India, but in China. Therefore, this big question always remains that how safe is the user's privacy?
What are the well-known apps that are banned?
These include entertainment apps such as Tick Talk and Likey. There are social media apps like Hello and Share It. There are chat or dating apps such as V-Chat and V-Mat. There are web browser apps like UC Browser. There are utility apps like Gender, Cam Scanner, Virus Cleaner. Gaming apps like Clash of Kings, e-commerce apps like Club Factory have also been banned. 22 applications in the utility category have been banned.
Are the apps banned by banning?
Actually, after the government's order, Google removed 59 Chinese apps from its Play Store and Apple from its App Store. That is, from now on, you have been downloading them. This time, this ban is also on the level of Internet service provider. That is, even if you are using broadband, there is no scope to use these apps. If you are buying a new phone, then some apps may come pre-installed in them, but they will also not work. You will not be able to store your personal data such as text, audio and video on any banned app.
3. Talk of companies: Are they really sharing users' data with others?
Companies deny this. This can be understood through the example of tick talk. The government's ban is going to have the most impact on Tick Talk, as it has more than 60 crore downloads in India. Monthly active users are more than 12 crores.
Nikhil Gandhi, CEO of Tick Talk India says- We are following all the rules of data privacy and security under Indian law. We have not shared the information of Indian users with the government of any country including China. We understand the importance of user privacy.
– TikTok India (@TikTok_IN) June 30, 2020
4. Can the case also go to court?
People of India office of these Chinese apps can go to court. As the government has said that this step has been taken keeping in view the security of the country, it is not expected that Chinese companies will get relief.
However, digital privacy expert Naman Aggarwal says that the government has not yet issued a detailed order. Even the evidence is not disclosed. It is not clear yet how much was the problem with the privacy and security of the country. So, was it right to ban the entire application? Did the government see, find and adopt all avenues before banning it?
5. Then did the government suddenly come to know that these apps are not good?
For this, we have to go back 3 years. This time we have a clash with China in Galvan, but Doklam took place in 2017. The Indo-Chinese forces were face to face for 74 days. At that time, the Ministry of Defense had asked the soldiers and officers posted on the border to delete 42 Chinese apps.
The interesting thing is that out of the 59 apps that the government banned on Monday night, 38 apps are the same, which came on the radar of the Ministry of Defense in 2017. Prior to 2017, in December 2015, the Ministry of Defense banned the use of Wi-Fi and blue tooth devices in Delhi's South Block headquarters, posing a threat to Chinese hackers.
6. Were these apps banned earlier?
Tittock was banned last year on the orders of the Madras High Court. He was then relieved by the Supreme Court. Tick-talk in the Supreme Court then said that it was losing Rs 3.5 crore a day due to the ban. That means more than 1200 crores rupees in a year.
7. What will happen to the employees working in these apps?
This is also a big question. Talking about Tick Talk, till 2019, more than 250 of its employees were in India. According to a recent Bloomberg report, Tick Talk's parent company, Bite Dance, was to recruit 10,000 people worldwide, including India. Tick Talk has the largest number of users in India, so its recruitment efforts may come as a shock.
According to Nikhil Gandhi, CEO of Tick Talk India, TikTok is in 14 languages. Millions of artists, storytellers, teachers and performers have been associated with it. It has become a way for them to live. Many of them used the Internet for the first time.
8. Why has India now taken this decision, what will be its effect on diplomacy with China?
This decision of India may bring further tussle on diplomatic relations with China. A day after the ban on Chinese apps, China's Foreign Ministry issued a statement. Said, 'This is a matter of concern and we are watching this development.'
Experts consider it more of a political decision. Like – Nikhil Pahwa, founder of digital policy portal MediaNama, tweeted that this is a political decision. This decision has been taken to send a message to China. Why was this decision not taken a year ago?
9. Will it affect the companies of India in which investment has come from China?
According to the Chinese government newspaper Global Times, the same is going to happen next. According to an article published in the Global Times, India's move will affect the technology companies and Internet start-ups in India which have received investment from China.
Sha Jun, executive partner of Yingke Law Firm's India Investment Service Center, says the same thing. He told Global Times that this decision of India has been taken in childish and emotion. This is not a good sign for China's forward investment in India. Statistics show that by the end of 2019, 19 companies of India had invested in companies like Alibaba and Tencent of China.
10. And finally what can be good news?
As an option of Chinese apps which have been banned, users may shift to apps developed in India. For example, from Monday night till now Tik Talk has more than 1 lakh downloads of India's app Spark. Now more than 20 lakh views are coming on it every hour. Industrialist Anand Mahindra tweeted just two days before the government's decision – I had never used Tick Talk, but just downloaded the spark.
According to digital privacy expert Naman Aggarwal, Indian talent was also being used in Chinese apps that were banned. After this ban, it is difficult to say whether Indian Talent will be used more than before.