Chinese apps banned on Valentine's day! Garena Free Fire, others BANNED in India!
On Valentine’s day, India decided to ban 54 Chinese apps due to security concerns. Popular titles like Garena Free Fire and AppLock were among the banned apps
There was no love found for 54 Chinese apps on Valentine's day in India as the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issued an order to ban them wholescale. While these apps are being called ‘Chinese', some apps like Garena Free Fire are Singapore-based. What essentially is meant by Chinese apps is that either the apps belong to China or have some Chinese connection that create a security threat for India. A majority of the apps listed in the ban are either utility apps or popular games. Some famous names in the ban list include Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade game, AppLocker, multiple Dual Space apps that allowed users to make app clones and Stick Fight.
Government officials said that the apps were banned using the emergency powers under Section 69A of IT Act, 2000. According to them, most of these apps were operating as rebranded or clone apps of the ones which were banned in 2020. The ministry said in a statement, “These 54 apps allegedly obtain various critical permissions and collects sensitive user data. These collected real-time data are being misused and transmitted to servers located in hostile country”.
54 Chinese Apps removed from Google Play Store
Not only Google Play Store but these apps were removed from all major app stores operating in the country. In a statement, a spokesperson from Google said, “On receipt of the interim order passed under Section 69A of the IT Act, following established process, we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India.”
This batch of Chinese app ban by the Indian government is somewhat different from the previous one in 2020. Back then, the game developers were ordered to shut down the servers and both telecom networks and Internet service providers were instructed to restrict user access to these banned apps. This time around, however, the apps were only removed from the various play stores. People who still have these applications installed are able to use them, including the online games like Garena Free Fire where a server touchpoint is required.
It was also reported yesterday that Samsung Galaxy Store, which is powered by Indus app Bazaar, had both Garena Free Fire and AppLock running even after the government ban.