After banning 59 apps of Chinese origin, the government on Tuesday directed them to ensure strict compliance to its orders, and warned of serious action in case of any violation, according to an official source.
The government on June 29 had banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including TikTok, CamScanner and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.
The government source said that the IT Ministry has now written to all these companies, warning that continued availability and operation of these banned apps, directly or indirectly, is not only illegal but also an offence under the Information Technology Act and other applicable Acts, which would attract penal provisions.
If any app in the banned list is found to be made available by the company through any means for use within India, directly or indirectly, it would be construed as a violation of the government orders, the source added.
All these companies have been directed to ensure strict compliance of the orders of the ministry, failing which serious action will be taken, the source said.
The ministry in a communication sent to these companies has mentioned that the ban imposed was in exercise of the sovereign powers and section 69A of the Information Technology Act, and that the said companies should ensure strict compliance to the order issued in this regard.
The IT Ministry’s statement of June 29 on banning of 59 mobile apps had cited numerous complaints received from various sources, including several reports about 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 ministry statement had said.
The ban is also applicable for WeChat and Bigo Live.
The list of apps that have been banned include Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call – Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein.
The IT ministry had invoked its power under section 69A of the IT Act and rules to block the 59 apps in view of information available that they were “engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.