GS Paper 3:
Topics Covered: Internal security related issues.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has banned 54 more apps which have either originated in China or have some Chinese connection.
- These apps were banned for being a threat to national security.
Provisions in this regard:
The new apps have been banned using emergency powers under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act. Most of these apps were operating as clones or shadow apps of the apps that had earlier been banned by the government.
Which other apps have been banned by the government in the past?
In total so far, close to 300 apps and their proxies have been banned by the IT ministry.
- In its reasoning then, the ministry has said that these apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
Why was this necessary? (Arguments by the government):
- Government had 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 unauthorized 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.
- The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.
Section 69A of IT act:
Section 69A of the IT Act, empowers the Central Government to order that access to certain websites and computer resources be blocked in the interest of the defense of the country, its sovereignty and integrity, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence.
Implications of this move:
The blocking of a hundred more Chinese mobile applications suggests that the Indian government wants to make it amply clear that it will not shy away from leveraging its position as a massive market for technology in dealing with potentially dangerous geopolitical issues.
What has China’s response been to the ban?
China has said that it suspects India’s actions could be in violation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
- The Chinese Government said “India’s measure selectively and discriminatorily aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security exceptions, and [is suspected] of violating the WTO rules.”
- Section 69A of the IT Act is related to?
- Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre- administrative setup and functions.
- What is Line of Actual Control?
- LAC vs LOC.
- Where is Chushul Valley?
The Centre’s recent move to block 59 Chinese apps has brought to the fore the inherently tricky ‘national security versus digital rights’ question. How do you view this? Give your opinion.
Sources: the Hindu.