Centre bans 54 more Chinese apps citing security concerns

These 54 apps allegedly obtain various critical permissions and collect sensitive user data and misuse them by transmitting the information to servers located in a hostile country, said the Union ministry

The apps that are banned includes Garena Free Fire, also known as Free Fire, a popular mobile battle royale game, Tencent's XRiver, mobile game Onmyoji arena, Sweet Selfie HD and others

Eight months after India had banned popular short video sharing platform TikTok and a host of other made in China apps, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has on Monday (February 14) barred another 54 mobile applications belonging to Chinese companies since they posed a threat to the country’s national security.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issued a statement which said that these 54 apps allegedly obtain various critical permissions and collect sensitive user data. And, these collected real-time data were being “misused and transmitted to servers located in hostile country,” said the ministry.

The banned apps include Garena Free Fire, also known as Free Fire, a popular mobile battle royale game, Tencent’s XRiver, mobile game Onmyoji arena, Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera, Music Player, Music Plus, Volume Booster, Video Players Media all formats, Viva Video Editor, Nice Video Baidu, AppLock and Astracraft, among others, said media reports.

Also read: Besides waving flag at China, India has little idea how to handle Beijing’s belligerence

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This is not the first time the Indian government is going after Chinese apps. In June 2020, India imposed its first round of bans on Chinese app companies, days after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.

A year later in June 2021, the government banned 59 Chinese apps, including the highly popular short video sharing platform TikTok, UC Browser, WeChat and Bigo Live. The reason given at that time was that these apps were prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.

Until now, India has banned 321 apps since border tensions have escalated with China, with whom it shares  a 3,400 km-long LAC from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh.

The apps have been banned under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, said MeitY.

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