The Indian government has blocked TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps in the wake of ongoing border tensions with China. In recent weeks, India and China have been at loggerheads over border disputes over the Galwan Valley in the territory of Ladakh.
An Indian government statement noted “raging concerns” with regards to data security and protecting the privacy of its citizens. “The Ministry of Information Technology has 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 unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India,” the statement said.
“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India, which ultimately impinges on the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the statement continued.
“On the basis of these and upon receiving of recent credible inputs that such Apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices,” the statement said.
TikTok has 119 million active users in India, where it has been downloaded 323 million times.
In a short period of time the app had become such an integral part of Indian popular culture that Yami Gautam, one of the female leads of 2019 Bollywood box office smash “Bala,” played a TikTok star.
Other banned Chinese apps include WeChat, Baidu Translate, Mi Video Call, Cam Scanner, Weibo and ES File Explorer.