Govt sends questions to 59 Chinese apps, seeks beneficial owner details

NEW DELHI: The government has sent a list of over 50 questions to the 59 banned Chinese apps, quizzing them over their beneficial owners and countries of their incorporation, officials said.

“We are sending out a list of questions to the Chinese companies,” a senior government official told ET. The questions are around the financial structure of these companies, who is the beneficial owner, the country of incorporation of the company, identifying the parent company, board of directors and the location of their data centres, the official added.

The apps include popular social media platforms such as TikTok, Helo and WeChat.

The questions come a week after the government, in an interim order, banned the 59 Chinese apps in the country owing to their activities which are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

Sources told ET that even as the government has currently banned these 59 apps, as many as 300 apps and URLs, including but not limited to popular gaming apps were currently under the review of the government.

The ban came in the wake of rising anti-China sentiment across the country after border skirmishes with India’s eastern neighbor led to loss of 20 Indian soldiers.

It was imposed under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009, the government order said. The notice, invoking the ban also cited complaints about data on Indian users being transferred abroad without authorisation.

While the Ministry of Electronics & IT invoked the ban, it was done on the recommendation of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The US recently welcomed the move saying it too was reviewing whether to ban Chinese social media apps such as TikTok.

The minister for communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad had called the government’s decision to ban the Chinese apps as a “digital strike, while the Ministry of External Affairs had said while India is a “very open regime” and will continue to welcome foreign investments, “including in internet technologies”, these would have to be in accordance with the rules and regulations on “data security and privacy of individual data”. The statements came as China opposed India’s ban calling it discriminatory and that it violated the World Trade Organization rules.

Govt sends questions to 59 Chinese apps, seeks beneficial owner details Govt sends questions to 59 Chinese apps, seeks beneficial owner details Reviewed by TechCO on 7/08/2020 Rating: 5

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