Govt Can Ban TikTok, Zoom & 50 Chinese Apps; Intel Agencies Advice To Govt Is The Reason?
They fear that these weren’t safe and ended up extracting a large amount of data outside India.
Which Are These Applications?
Moving ahead, the list of applications sent by the security establishment to the government include video conferencing app Zoom, short-video app TikTok, and other utility and content apps such as UC Browser, Xender, SHAREit and Clean-master.
Further, a senior government official said the recommendation of the intelligence agencies had recently been supported by the National Security Council Secretariat, which felt these could be detrimental to India’s security.
The official said, “The discussions on the recommendations are continuing,”, further explaining that the parameters and the risks attached to each mobile app will have to be examined one by one.
Before this, during April this year, the home ministry had issued an advisory on use of Zoom on the recommendation of the national cybersecurity agency – Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-in).
Apart from India, Taiwan and German Foreign Ministry have also banned government agencies from using Zoom.
Why Would This Happen?
According to the officials, there were inputs that many Android and IOS apps, either developed by Chinese developers or launched by companies with Chinese links, had the potential to be used as spyware or other malicious ware.
Apart from this, there have been reports that security agencies had advised security personnel from using them in view of the “detrimental impact that this could have on data security.
Similar kinds of concerns were raised about backdoors in China-linked hardware or software that have been frequently articulated by western security agencies too.
The other argument has been that China could use its access to degrade communications services in case of conflict.
What About Chinese Imports?
While in the meantime, in another development, the commerce ministry is fast-tracking measures to cut down on Chinese imports and the findings will be presented to the Prime Minister’s Office soon.
The government has been gearing up to place tighter restrictions on the import of 371 items — ranging from toys and plastic goods to sports items, and furniture — which are worth $127 billion, as per the sources.
A senior official said, “A large chunk of these originates in China and for those goods, we will pursue import substitution,”.