The Ministry of Information Technology has sent around 70 questions to 59 Chinese apps that were banned by the government last week. The apps’ owners need to respond to an exhaustive list of questions within three weeks.
The ministry has sought details about, “unauthorised data access” by the banned Chinese firms, which could lead to espionage/surveillance like activities, The Times of India reported.
On June 29, the government ordered a ban on 59 Chinese apps, such as TikTok, Shareit, Helo, UC Browser, Xender, Shein, Club Factory over security reasons amid the India-China border tension. The government, in a statement, said that those apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order”.
According to the government, it has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about the 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.
All the 59 apps have now been removed from Apple Inc. and Google LLC’s app stores for the Indian market.
On receiving the questionnaire, a spokesperson from ByteDance-owned TikTok said: “The set of questions were being crafted to get a clear response from the firms on a variety of issues, including their structures, data collection process, and how they harvested data/ information of Indians.”
The ByteDance official added that the firm was working to respond in “a stipulated timeframe”. The company reiterated that it was adhering to all the rules and regulations applicable in India. He asserted that there was no violation of any laws on the part of the company.
The daily added that the responses will be studied by a high-level panel that will have members from the intelligence bureau, cybersecurity wing, department of telecommunication, internal security, and IT Ministry.Also read: TikTok, Cam Scanner, Helo banned in India! Govt cracks down on 59 Chinese apps
Also read: Govt orders internet service providers to block 59 Chinese apps with immediate effect