In accordance with Article 69A of the Information Technology Law and in accordance with the provisions of the 2009 Information Technology (Procedures and Safeguards for Prohibiting Public Access to Information) Rules, the government banned PUBG Mobile and 117 other applications linked to China on Wednesday. The government stated in a press release that these applications “damage the sovereignty and integrity of the country” and there is a risk of leaking user data. However, legal experts questioned the way the government used sovereign power to ban popular apps in the country.
The latest ban is the third in a series of bans. The government has banned 106 “Chinese” applications in the country for more than two months and took two similar actions in June and July.
The first decision was made in late June, and the follow-up action was ordered almost a month later (that is, at the end of July).
Technology and geopolitics are mixed
So far, in all three cases, the government has used section 69A of the Information Technology Act, which essentially gives the public the power to prevent the public from accessing any information available online. But the technology lawyer and legal advocacy organization Slfc. The founder of in Mishi Choudhary stated that the department is just a stopgap measure.
She told Advertisement Shout: “Whether it is the 59 applications that are banned or the 118 applications that are banned, all of these highlight how technical and geopolitical issues have become two braids.”
Apar Gupta, executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), a digital rights organization, agreed with Choudhary and said that the use of the blocking function to ban applications one after another resulted in the 69A that was originally intended to be used for the purpose of blocking the website. Overuse. He also pointed out that even if the website is blocked, it should be regarded as a last resort.
Need for strict data protection laws
The statement on the new ban issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) highlighted that it decided to block these applications after receiving reports of “stealing and secretly transmitting user data” to overseas servers. It also cited the recommendations of the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Center of the Ministry of the Interior to block 118 applications.
However, Gupta said the government did not even provide any evidence, or even any reasonable information. He also mentioned that the trend of announcing bans through press releases does not involve any legal procedures.
He said: “The entire process has been completed in the press release.” “According to the Information Technology Act, press releases are not legal orders.”
Since the ban is mainly formulated to protect citizen data, experts also believe that it is necessary to enact strict data protection laws. Choudhury said: “We must ensure that people are protected and not become pawns in the data game.”
The “special omission” of the Chinese term
In the past two months, all three application bans that took effect in China are considered to be linked to China. However, the government did not explicitly mention the word “China” or “China” in any statement.
IFF’s Gupta said: “In these press releases, the omission of the word China itself is to some extent a special omission.” He added that adding the word China can indeed help those who have already downloaded these applications. Users uninstall and really participate and take care of them.
He said: “I believe that citizen participation and trust in all decisions made by the government is essential to the success of all national goals to ensure national security and prevent the misappropriation of Indian user data.”
Should the government explain why Chinese applications are banned? We discussed this on the weekly technical podcast Orbital, you can subscribe via Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or RSS, download the episode, or click the play button below.