Popular Chinese video and music app TikTok has been banned in India, along with 58 other apps – most of which are Chinese. This comes as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.
Developed by Chinese company Bytedance, TikTok allows users to share short videos usually set to music. The app and its developers have long denied allegations of being involved in any way with the Chinese government, going as far as to say that its data centres are kept outside of China and therefore is not under the sovereignty of Chinese law.
The Indian government has seen fit to block the app from Indian phones, as well as 58 others. Amongst them Alibaba’s UC Browser and Tencent’s WeChat which is also alleged to be working with the government of China. Even games like the highly popular Clash of Kings has been banned.
India says that the 59 banned apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” according to the country’s Ministry of Information Technology.
It is alleged in the same government release that some of the banned apps have been found to be “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.” No particular apps or examples of this behaviour were mentioned in the release, however.
The government describes this behaviour of data usage as “a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures” and that the ban itself is made possible by India’s Information Technology Act. The ministry claims that certain members of the public have also expressed concerns about how many of the apps use the data they collect, writes the Independent.
Border tensions between China and India
This mass ban comes after a skirmish on the Indian-Chinese border saw 20 Indians soldiers dead. The Indian government has made no reference to the conflict, the mounting tensions or the fact that most of the apps had been developed in China.
With India looking to become “a leading innovator when it comes to technological advancements and a primary market in the digital space,” a looming conflict between the countries, highly-important global tech leaders in their own rights, will only sink global markets further. Presenting a difficult choice for South Africa, staunch partner of both countries.