Indian intelligence agencies red flag 52 Chinese apps, including Zoom, TikTok

The list of such mobile applications sent by the security agencies to the government include short-video app TikTok, video conferencing app Zoom, and other content and utility apps.

Platforms such as the popular video-sharing app TikTok, operated by the Chinese internet company ByteDance, have issued denials. (Screengrab from Twitter)

Indian intelligence agencies have asked the government to block 52 mobile applications linked to China, over concerns of app safety and data extraction from India. The agencies seek to advise people to stop using such applications, according to sources familiar with the development.

The list of such mobile applications sent by the security agencies to the government include short-video app TikTok, video conferencing app Zoom, and other content and utility apps such as Xender, UC browser, SHAREit and Clean-master.

A senior government official stated that the recommendation of the intelligence agencies was supported by the National Security Council Secretariat, which felt these apps could prove to be detrimental to India’s security.

The home ministry in April’20, had issued an advisory on the use of zoom app, based upon the recommendation of the national cybersecurity agency – Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-in).

India is not the first country to restrict use of zoom app within the government. Taiwan also has banned government agencies from using Zoom. The German Foreign Ministry restricted the use of zoom in emergency situations, while the United States Senate advised members to use other such platforms.

In this regard, there have been calls for taking action against the mobile apps which are perceived to be compromising the security of data, from time to time. Platforms such as the popular video-sharing app TikTok, operated by the Chinese internet company ByteDance, have issued denials.

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According to officials, many Android and IOS applications, either developed by Chinese firms or launched by companies having Chinese links, had the potential to be used as a malicious ware or spyware

Reports suggest that security agencies had advised the security personnel from using the apps, in view of the dangerous impact on data security.

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