The central government on Wednesday blocked PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite along with 116 other Chinese apps for Android and iOS devices. The development came while India and China are engaged in a standoff at Pangong Lake in Ladakh. In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said that these banned applications are "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".
The primary argument Centre has presented for banning 118 Chinese apps, including PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite, is that they are detrimental to sovereignty and integrity of India, and a threat to the defence and security of the nation. The IT Ministry said that it invoked its power under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, which allows the Centre to block the public from accessing any application found guilty of these charges.
The Ministry also claimed that it has received several complaints from various sources about misuse of some mobile apps for stealing and transmitting users' data without authorisation to servers located outside India.
"The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence 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," it further added.
MeitY stated that it received "an exhaustive recommendation" from Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs for blocking these malicious apps. Various public representatives, inside and outside the Parliament, had also raised similar concerns.
Centre claimed that there has been "a strong chorus in the public space" to take strict action against apps that pose a threat to India's security.
"On the basis of these and upon receiving of recent credible inputs that information posted, permissions sought, functionality embedded as well as data harvesting practices of above stated apps raise serious concerns that these apps collect and share data in surreptitious manner and compromise personal data and information of users that can have a severe threat to security of the state," MeitY stated.