To prevent the misuse of its citizens’ data, India is taking steps to block 232 apps, some of which have connections to China and offer betting and loan services in the South Asian market, according to the state-owned public broadcaster on Sunday.
In order to preserve the integrity of the nation, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is enforcing an urgent directive banning 138 betting and gambling apps as well as another 94 that offered unauthorized loan services, according to the broadcaster.
According to Prasar Bharti, the Ministry of Home Affairs directed the ministry to make the change. The apps raised concerns that they could be used as espionage and propaganda tools because they attempted to trick users into taking on large debts without understanding the terms.
The action taken on Sunday is the most recent in a line of measures taken by the government to combat services like shark loan apps and other things that are endangering the citizens of the country.
Last year, the Reserve Bank of India imposed strict regulations on companies that provide digital loans, urging them to give customers more transparency and control.
The new regulations state that lenders must explicitly state the annual loan rate and are not allowed to raise a customer’s credit limit without the latter’s permission. Additionally, it is required for digital lending apps to obtain customers’ prior, explicit consent before collecting any data, and all such requests must be “need-based.”
In recent years, India has also blocked more than 300 apps that have ties to China in order to defend the sovereignty and integrity of the country. Early last year, New Delhi banned 50 additional apps with alleged ties to China, including Xriver by Tencent, Free Fire by Garena, Onmyoji Arena and Astracraft by NetEase, and 50 more. Amid geopolitical tensions between the two neighboring countries, the Indian government also outlawed dozens of apps in mid-2020, including TikTok by ByteDance, the Community and Video Call apps from Xiaomi, and UC Browser and UC News from Alibaba Group.
New Delhi has never made it clear that it is blocking apps from a specific nation.
Brendan Carr, the senior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission, applauded India’s blocking of TikTok and other apps last month and claimed that by outlawing the ByteDance app, it had established a “incredibly important precedent.”
TikTok “operates as a sophisticated surveillance tool,” according to Carr, who concluded that outlawing the social media platform was the “natural next step in our efforts to secure communication networks.” Carr expressed concern that China might use private and sensitive information obtained from TikTok for “surveillance, blackmail, espionage, and foreign influence campaigns.”
He continued, “We need to more broadly follow India’s example to weed out other malicious apps.”