In what looks like a blanket ban on apps originating from China, India has announced that TikTok and 58 other apps will no longer be allowed to work in the country. The country announced this in a press release on Monday; a move unprecedented in the history of what now looks like a cold war between India and China.
In the press release, India’s Ministry of Information Technology said the said apps “are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
TikTok is used by over 200 million people in India, and could be the biggest loser in this latest move by the India government. TechCrunch, however, reports that all 59 banned apps are still available for download in the country on both Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Though, both Google and Apple are yet to comply with the ban, there are chances that this could change any moment if the companies’ previous actions were to be taken into consideration.
The Ministry of Information in a statement said:
“The Ministry of 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.”
TikTok, which perhaps seems to be the biggest losers in all of these, suffered a major blow last February when Transportation Security Administration told its employees to stop using the app. This came weeks after the army banned the use of TikTok on government owned phones. TSA told users to stop using the Chinese-owned app to create social media posts for the agency.
Considering the popularity of the app among teens in the US, the government launched a national security review. This prompted New York Senator Chuck Schumer to send a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske over the weekend.
In a statement per CBS News on Sunday, the TSA said “small number of TSA employees have previously used TikTok on their personal devices to create videos for use in TSA’s social media outreach, but that practice has since been discontinued.”
Schumer in his letter said experts in national security have expressed fears about how TikTok handles and collects data and personal information, locations and other content. Also in the letter, he noted that Chinese laws compels companies to cooperate with China’s government and intelligence collection.