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India bans TikTok permanently; app evaluates notice

India bans TikTok permanently; app evaluates notice

"We are evaluating the notice and will respond to it as appropriate... Ensuring the privacy and security of all our users remains to be our topmost priority," says a TikTok spokesperson

Following the temporary app ban dated June 29, 2020, the government of India has issued a notice to TikTok on the permanent ban of the app in the country. Along with TikTok, the government has issued a similar permeant ban notice to 177 Chinese apps which were banned earlier, says sources. Conversely, one of the banned Chinese app has been unblocked.

According to the statement shared by Tiktok, the company is evaluating the notice. "We are evaluating the notice and will respond to it as appropriate. TikTok was among the first companies to comply with the Government of India directive issued on June 29, 2020. We continually strive to comply with local laws and regulations and do our best to address any concerns the government may have. Ensuring the privacy and security of all our users remains to be our topmost priority," says a TikTok spokesperson.

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Between June to December 2020, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY), Government of India had issued multiple order under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act banning 220 Chinese apps in total including popular apps and games such as TikTok, WeChat, PUBG Mobile, Shareit, UC Browser, AliSuppliers, Alibaba Workbench, AliExpress, Lalamove India, CamCard to name a few. According to the government, the action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order.

As the government of India committed to protecting the interests of citizens and sovereignty and integrity of India on all fronts, it will take all possible steps to ensure the same, states the press statement issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. However, it is also believed that as the border row intensified between India and China last year, the government soon moved to ban select Chinese apps citing reasons such as sovereignty and integrity of India. This decision to ban popular Chinese apps reiterated the government's stand that aggression on the border will not be tolerated.

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The ban of Chinese apps over the last few months have witnessed a sudden surge in the home-grown apps across categories including productivity, games and entertainment. This is also considered as a strategic move to boost and build a strong Indian app ecosystem. For this, the government had introduced AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge in July last year, which received close to 7,000 entries individual app developers and companies from all over the country including remote and small towns as well.