India bans PUBG, 117 other Chinese apps for ‘stealing, transmitting users’ data’ to servers outside India’

Nation



The Minsitry of Electronics and Information Technolgy (MEITY) said that it has banned PUBG and 117 other apps as they are ‘prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order’

The popular online multiplayer battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG Mobile Lite is among the 118 new apps banned in India amid fresh tensions along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh.

The Minsitry of Electronics and Information Technolgy (MEITY) banned 118 apps, including PUBG they are “engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. According to the statement, the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre division of the Ministry of Home Affairs had also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.

“The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has received many complaints 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 unauthorized 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 statement said.

These 118 apps join the earlier 59, including TikTok, which was banned by the Union government in June this year. With Wednesday’s order, India has now banned 224 Chinese apps. The Centre also banned the recently released PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik, as well other popular apps such as AliPay, WeChat Work and WeChat Reading.

An estimated over 33 million users in India play PUBG Mobile. While the game was originally developed by an Irish game developer and its desktop version by South Korean developer Bluehole, the PUBG MObile app is developed by Tencent Games, which was part of Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings.

A report in NDTV said that PUBG and other apps have been banned under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.

“This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace,” News 18 quoted a statement from the ministry as saying.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, MEITY, said that it had received many complaints 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,” it said.

The current list of apps are over the 59 apps which the government banned earlier following a clash in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh.

According to another News18 report, PUBG Mobile has a huge fan following in India, incuding tier II cities, and tournaments based on the game see big title sponsors, offering fringe gamers sizeable prize money.

The game is popularly largely due its clan mode, where four players would come together – at times from different parts of the country – to take on other similar teams in all-out deathmatches, the report adds.

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