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India bans 'PUBG Mobile' and more than 100 other apps

Since June, it has banned 177 apps with ties to China.
Christine Fisher, @cfisherwrites
September 2, 2020
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A man looks at the "PUBG Mobile" game, owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent, in the App Store on an Apple iPhone in New Delhi on September 2, 2020. - India on September 2 banned 118 Chinese apps as it stepped up economic hostilities over an increasingly bitter border showdown between the giant neighbours. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP) (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)
JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images

In June, India banned 59 apps made my Chinese companies, including TikTok, WeChat and several QQ and Baidu apps. Today, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology banned another 118 apps with ties to China. In a press release, the ministry said it did so, “in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India and security of the State.”

The apps banned today include PUBG Mobile — not the desktop or console versions — as well as three Alibaba apps: Alipay, Taobao and Youku. PUBG Mobile is by far the most popular, with more than 40 million monthly active users in India, TechCrunch points out. 

Officials say they’ve received several reports about the misuse of mobile apps. Allegedly, some apps have stolen users’ data and transmitted it to servers outside of India. This comes as tensions between China and India are escalating.

“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence [sic] 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,” India’s IT Ministry wrote. 

India is also considering rules that would require companies to gain users’ permission before using their personal data and make it easier for the government to obtain users’ identities from social media platforms. 

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