India has blocked 348 apps in total for ‘unauthorised data collection’: govt

The Indian government has identified and blocked 348 mobile applications that were collecting users’ data and transmitting it in an unauthorised manner to servers abroad for profiling, minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in Parliament on Wednesday. Some of these apps were developed in China, he added.

“Based on the request from the ministry of home affairs, the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) blocked those mobile applications since such data transmissions infringe the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of the country and security of the state,” Chandrasekhar said in a response to a question from Rodmal Nagar.

The news comes days after the government banned the popular game BattleGrounds Mobile India (BGMI) on concerns that data of Indians was being transferred abroad and mined,
as ET previously reported. The app was blocked under Section 69A of the IT Act.

BGMI was created specifically for the Indian market by South Korean gaming company Krafton Inc after the government banned PUBG Mobile – published by Chinese internet firm Tencent – in 2020 along with around 200 other Chinese apps, including popular short-video platform TikTok. Tencent held a 13.5% stake in Krafton through an investment vehicle as of March-end, according to a regulatory filing by the South Korean firm.

Responding to another question on measures taken to combat fake news on social media, Chandrasekhar said a fact-checking unit has been set up under the Press Information Bureau.

“The unit responds to the relevant queries/suspected news pertaining to the central government by labelling it appropriately on its social media handles and its own website,” he added.

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