It’s not news that some apps like to track its users and send data back to its servers. Some companies make a lot of money from data gathered this way, but they manage to keep it ‘barely legal’. But when it comes to Chinese apps, those regulations are thinly layered and companies may get away with far more user data than we expect.
Now, India has ordered a ban on a total of 59 Chinese apps including the viral short-form video platform, TikTok. This following an announcement from the country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, that said these apps were “… engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of state and public order.”
And it didn’t take its time in removing all of 59 apps from both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store in the country. It’s not clear how the government plans to police this, as apps can still be sideloaded to phones by downloading the APK, but the overall ban would still discourage use if it’s harder to come by.
Apparently, the Indian government made this decision based on multiple reports that suggested these platforms were “surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.” And… they’re not wrong.
The ban includes the popular online multiplayer strategy game, Clash of Kings, and document scanning app, CamScanner. But you can check out the complete list online.
Obviously, TikTok and other Chinese app developers have responded to allegations of them stealing user information, saying “TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and have not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government.”
Surprisingly, India is one of TikTok’s biggest markets, with in excess of 611 million lifetime downloads. It seems that this has bolstered the India/Chinese cold war, with China retaliating by banning Indian newspapers and websites are not accessible in China. Is this… a Mexican standoff in the East?