New Delhi February 5, 2023 :
In a major crackdown on online fraud and security concerns, the Indian government has banned over 200 applications as part of its "Digital Strike 2.0." The move was triggered by numerous complaints of harassment and extortion by online lending and finance apps, mostly with Chinese links.
According to media reports, the ban includes 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps and has been initiated under Section 69 of the IT Act due to concerns over material that is "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India." The request to ban these apps was raised primarily from Telangana, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and central intelligence agencies.
Betting and gambling are illegal in most parts of India and the operation of these apps is also illegal under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, Cable TV Network Regulation Act 1995 and the IT Rules, 2021.
The government has found that 94 apps are available on e-stores while others are operating through third-party links. These apps can also be misused as tools for espionage and propaganda, posing a security risk to the data of Indian citizens.
In June 2020, India had blocked access to 59 mobile apps and in September it banned 118 more apps under Section 69A of the IT Act. In November 2020, the Centre issued another order under the same section, blocking access to 43 mobile apps, including popular ones like TikTok, PUBG Mobile, and WeChat.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has started the process to block access to these apps on an "urgent" and "emergency" basis after communication from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
This move by the Indian government is aimed at safeguarding the privacy and security of Indian citizens, and promoting a safer digital ecosystem.