India Bans TikTok, WeChat and Dozens of Other Chinese Phone Apps

On Monday the Indian government banned fifty nine Chinese cell phone apps, including TikTok and WeChat, citing national security and privacy concerns. The move comes as tensions between India and China have escalated from a June 15th event where twenty Indian soldiers were killed by the Chinese army along a disputed area of the India-China border.

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a media statement the Chinese cell phones apps were “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 defense 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 added.

“Chinese mobile app firms and other tech firms are beholden to the CCP under Chinese law,” Brahma Chellaney, a former adviser to India’s National Security Council, tweeted on Monday, referring to the country’s ruling Communist Party. “As extensions of the Chinese state, they pose a national security risk.”

India is a huge market for TikTok, according late a recent report thirty percent of TikTok’s two billion downloads came from India . Messaging app WeChat, owned by Chinese internet company Tencent, has more than one billion users worldwide.

Both the U.S. and European governments are currently investigating TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The investigations are focused on data-collection practices and national security concerns.  Along side of the investigations several US government agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Navy, and the Army, have banned the use of the app on government-issued devices, citing security concerns over ByteDance’s connections to the Chinese government.


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