The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) has told the 59 Chinese apps that have been banned in India to disclose information about their operations in India, their data collection practices and also the locations of their operational centres.
As per multiple reports online, approximately 70 questions have been sent to the parent companies of these respective apps so that more information can be collected as a follow-up to the ban.
The government has given these companies three weeks to answer these questions.
Looking For Answers
The Quint reached out to MeiTY for clarity on the questions sent to the Chinese companies, however, the ministry declined to share any information.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, a MeiTY official (who chose to remain anonymous) said that they have “asked for more information regarding where their centres are located, how they are collecting data and further details about their operations.”
Another official from the ministry has said that the “apps will have a chance to present their side of the story.”
As per the report, the official also said that “emails have been sent to them (the Chinese companies) so that we can collate and analyse more details about the operations of the applications.”
“This is a part of the process under the IT Act.”, the official added.
Chinese Apps on the Questions
The Quint also reached out to TikTok and Helo for a response on the questions that have been sent to them. Both companies declined to comment on the MeiTY questionnaire, however, TikTok did share an official statement.
"“We have received a communication from Ministry of Information and Technology and are working to respond to them within the stipulated time frame. We have been in compliance with the laws and regulations of the Government of India and will continue to cooperate, address their concerns and provide necessary clarification. Ensuring the data sovereignty, security and privacy of our users has always been and will continue to be a top priority for us.” " - TikTok Spokesperson to The Quint
Earlier, TikTok also said that it continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under the law and “has not shared any information of TikTok users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government.”
The company has also said that it has requested an audience with the government on the ban and is looking to sort out the issue as soon as possible.
TikTok is one of the most-used video-making apps in the world. Before the ban, it had approximately 611 million downloads on the Google Play Store just from India.
The Indian government decided to ban 59 Chinese apps citing concerns of national security and said that these apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order.”
Google and Apple complied with the ordered and removed these Chinese apps from the platform and even telecom operators have stopped data transfers via these apps.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)
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