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India bans PUBG Mobile, WeChat Work, AppLock and 115 other Chinese apps as border row intensifies

There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India's sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens, MeitY said in its statement

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | September 3, 2020 | Updated 17:07 IST
India bans PUBG Mobile, WeChat Work, AppLock and 115 other Chinese apps as border row intensifies
Centre said it had received complaints against some apps stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data


  • Government blocks 118 Chinese mobile apps, taking the total tally so far to 224
  • Fresh list of blocked apps includes popular game PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik, PUBG MOBILE LITE
  • Government of India invokes Section 69A of the Information Technology Act
  • Government says these apps are "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order"

Following the ban of Chinses apps over the last couple of months, the Government of India has now blocked another 118 mobile applications including PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik, PUBG MOBILE LITE. In a statement on Wednesday, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said the blocked apps are engaging in activities which are "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".

ALSO READ: Why India banned PUBG Mobile

ALSO READ: India bans PUBG and 118 Chinese apps

"There has been already an anticipation of a follow-up list to the already blocked apps. From this list the ban of PUBG will be widely discussed and will break hearts of many active gamers in India. We expect a greater outrage than what happened when TikTok was banned," says Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research. "These apps have been banned in India citing privacy and security concerns. The press release cites data harvesting practices, permission sought, information posted and functionality embedded in these apps as reasons to ban the apps and we think this development doesn't happen overnight and it might have been in the monitor list for long."

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India invoked the power under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats. Using the sovereign powers, the Government of India has decided to block the usage of certain apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices.

According to the press statement issued, MeitY has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations 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.

ALSO READ: PUBG ban in India triggers memes fest on Twitter

"While the grounds for blocking the additional apps are identical to the grounds for the earlier ban, to ensure that Chinese owned app companies in India are not unduly vexed, the government needs to unambiguously define its expectations so that it can be followed by app companies to avoid being blocked. This would set a compliance threshold, which is transparent and would significantly improve the ease of doing business in India for app companies, which have either ultimate ownership control traced to a Chinese entity," says Akash Karmakar, a partner with the Law Offices of Panag & Babu.

"Over two months have elapsed since the previous blocking actions of the Indian government, and over a month has elapsed since the deadline for responding to the government's 77-question checklist. What is conspicuous by its absence is clarity on whether responding to the queries to the government's satisfaction would result in un-blocking of the apps banned earlier, and what timeline can be expected for any decision in this regard," he further says.

The list of blocked apps include:

1. APUS Launcher Pro - Theme, Live Wallpapers, Smart

2. APUS Launcher - Theme, Call Show, Wallpaper, HideApps

3. APUS Security - Antivirus, Phone security, Cleaner

4. APUS Turbo Cleaner 2020 - Junk Cleaner, Anti-Virus

5. APUS Flashlight - Free & Bright

6. Cut Cut - Cut Out & Photo Background Editor

7. Baidu

8. Baidu Express Edition

9. FaceU - Inspire your Beauty

10. ShareSave by Xiaomi: Latest gadgets, amazing deals

11. CamCard - Business Card Reader

12. CamCard Business

13. CamCard for Salesforce

14. CamOCR

15. InNote

16. VooV Meeting - Tencent Video Conferencing

17. Super Clean - Master of Cleaner, Phone Booster

18. WeChat reading

19. Government WeChat

20. Small Q brush

21. Tencent Weiyun

22. Pitu

23. WeChat Work

24. Cyber Hunter

25. Cyber Hunter Lite

26. Knives Out-No rules, just fight!

27. Super Mecha Champions

28. LifeAfter

29. Dawn of Isles

30. Ludo World-Ludo Superstar

31. Chess Rush

32. PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik


34. Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade

35. Art of Conquest: Dark Horizon

36. Dank Tanks

37. Warpath

38. Game of Sultans

39. Gallery Vault - Hide Pictures And Videos

40. Smart AppLock (App Protect)

41. Message Lock (SMS Lock)-Gallery Vault Developer Team

42. Hide App-Hide Application Icon

43. AppLock

44. AppLock Lite

45. Dual Space - Multiple Accounts & App Cloner

46. ZAKZAK Pro - Live chat & video chat online

47. ZAKZAK LIVE: live-streaming & video chat app

48. Music - Mp3 Player

49. Music Player - Audio Player & 10 Bands Equalizer

50. HD Camera Selfie Beauty Camera

51. Cleaner - Phone Booster

52. Web Browser & Fast Explorer

53. Video Player All Format for Android

54. Photo Gallery HD & Editor

55. Photo Gallery & Album

56. Music Player - Bass Booster - Free Download

57. HD Camera - Beauty Cam with Filters & Panorama

58. HD Camera Pro & Selfie Camera

59. Music Player - MP3 Player & 10 Bands Equalizer

60. Gallery HD

61. Web Browser - Fast, Privacy & Light Web Explorer

62. Web Browser - Secure Explorer

63. Music player - Audio Player

64. Video Player - All Format HD Video Player

65. Lamour Love All Over The World

66. Amour- video chat & call all over the world.

67. MV Master - Make Your Status Video & Community

68. MV Master - Best Video Maker & Photo Video Editor

69. APUS Message Center-Intelligent management

70. LivU Meet new people & Video chat with strangers

71. Carrom Friends : Carrom Board & Pool Game-

72. Ludo All Star- Play Online Ludo Game & Board Games

73. Bike Racing : Moto Traffic Rider Bike Racing Games

74. Rangers Of Oblivion : Online Action MMO RPG Game

75. Z Camera - Photo Editor, Beauty Selfie, Collage

76. GO SMS Pro - Messenger, Free Themes, Emoji

77. U-Dictionary: Oxford Dictionary Free Now Translate

78. Ulike - Define your selfie in trendy style

79. Tantan - Date For Real

80. MICO Chat: New Friends Banaen aur Live Chat karen

81. Kitty Live - Live Streaming & Video Live Chat

82. Malay Social Dating App to Date & Meet Singles

83. Alipay

84. AlipayHK

85. Mobile Taobao

86. Youku

87. Road of Kings- Endless Glory

88. Sina News

89. Netease News

90. Penguin FM

91. Murderous Pursuits

92. Tencent Watchlist (Tencent Technology

93. Learn Chinese AI-Super Chinese

94. HUYA LIVE - Game Live Stream

95. Little Q Album

96. Fighting Landlords - Free and happy Fighting Landlords

97. Hi Meitu

98. Mobile Legends: Pocket

99. VPN for TikTok

100. VPN for TikTok

101. Penguin E-sports Live assistant

102. Buy Cars-offer everything you need, special offers and low prices

103. iPick

104. Beauty Camera Plus - Sweet Camera & Face Selfie

105. Parallel Space Lite - Dual App

106. "Chief Almighty: First Thunder BC

107. MARVEL Super War NetEase Games

108. AFK Arena

109. Creative Destruction NetEase Games

110. Crusaders of Light NetEase Games

111. Mafia City Yotta Games

112. Onmyoji NetEase Games

113. Ride Out Heroes NetEase Games

114. Yimeng Jianghu-Chu Liuxiang has been fully upgraded

115. Legend: Rising Empire NetEase Games

116. Arena of Valor: 5v5 Arena Games

117. Soul Hunters

118. Rules of Survival

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps. Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India. There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India's sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens, MeitY said in its statement.

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.

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