The Indian government has given a 48-hour deadline to the 59 banned Chinese apps to prove to a government-appointed set of experts that the local data is not being saved on foreign servers, according to sources aware of the development. The deadline is this evening; it took effect when a notice was issued banning the apps on Monday. The panel will hold a meeting in New Delhi today.
The government panel is headed by Sanjay Bahl who is the director of India’s nodal agency of internal security, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team. The meeting will also have representatives from the Indian ministry of home affairs, ministry of electronics and information technology, information and broadcasting ministry and law ministry.
The panel will examine the data sharing practices of these apps. Sources have revealed that representatives from the application companies are “co-operating in the process”. Chinese app Tik Tok’s India head Nikhil Gandhi was quoted in the Indian business newspaper Economic Times that the company had been invited to meet the government stakeholders to respond and submit clarifications.
“TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government. Further, if we are requested in future, we would not do so,” Gandhi said. India accounts for 20 percent of TikTok’s revenue and the company that owns the app is planning to get listed on the US stock exchange next year.
The Indian government banned a total of 59 Chinese apps on Monday including Shareit, UC browser, and Clash of Kings, among others.
The decision by the Indian government came on 29 June amid growing calls to suspend Chinese apps and goods in the country in retaliation for the ongoing border stand-off in Ladakh. 20 Indian soldiers were killed in brutal hand-to-hand combat as the two sides accused each other of encroaching upon the territory at the loosely demarcated 4,057 km Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The order by the Home Ministry suggested that the move would protect the sovereignty of cyberspace and "safeguard the interests of tens of millions of Indian mobile and internet users".
The Ministry of Information Technology stated that it had been receiving numerous complaints from both Android and iOS users about unauthorised app data leaks and transmissions to servers outside of India.