- Indian intelligence agencies have asked the government to ban or advise people to stop using 52 Chinese mobile apps.
Indian intelligence agencies have asked the government to ban or advise people to stop using 52 Chinese mobile apps because of concerns that these were not safe and ended up extracting large amounts of data outside India, Hindustan Times told people familiar with the development.
The list of applications submitted to the government by the security establishment includes the video conferencing software Zoom, TikTok short-video software, and other utility and content applications such as UC client, Xender, SHAREit, and Clean-master.
A senior government official said the intelligence agencies’ recommendation had been recently backed by the Secretariat of the National Security Council, which felt these could be detrimental to the security of India.
“The discussions on the recommendations continue,” an official said, adding that the criteria and threats associated with each mobile device need to be discussed one by one.
On the advice of India’s National Cybersecurity Agency – Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in), the home ministry had released an advisory on the use of Zoom in April this year. India wasn’t the first country within the government to limit the use of Zoom.
Taiwan has prohibited the use of Zoom by government departments, the German Foreign Ministry limits the use of Zoom to emergencies on personal computers, while the US Senate recommends representatives to use other platforms. The organization had replied to the advisory from the home ministry, insisting that consumer protection was a serious matter.
Calls for action against mobile apps have been made which are perceived as compromising security from time to time. And companies like the hugely popular video-sharing video-sharing app TikTok-owned and operated by ByteDance, a Chinese internet company-have issued denials.
But officials said there were inputs that several Android and IOS apps have the potential to be used as spyware or other malicious ware, either created by Chinese developers or launched by companies with Chinese ties. There were claims that security services had cautioned security personnel to use them despite the “detrimental effect this could have on data protection.
Western security agencies have often regularly expressed these fears about backdoors in China-linked hardware or software. One concern has been that in the event of war, China might use its access to undermine communications infrastructure.
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