The Indian government has taken action against a bunch of loan-lending and betting apps with Chinese links. In total, 232 apps have been banned on an “urgent” and “emergency” basis by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). There have been emerging reports of extortion and potential privacy and security risks, due to which the move has been taken.
As per reports, the MHA recommended that the MeitY ban and block these apps this week, and the Ministry subsequently initiated the process. Furthermore, it has been confirmed that these apps attract Section 69 of the IT Act as they contain material prejudicial to India’s sovereignty and integrity.
Apart from that, a number of reports of extortion and harassment had been emerging from people who had taken out small loans through these apps. In some cases, interest rates were increased by 3,000% annually. When debtors could not repay, they started receiving threatening messages and became the victim of morphed photos. This resulted in a number of suicides in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
States like Telangana, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh and central intelligence agencies had then asked the Union Home Ministry to take action against these apps, sources said. Out of the total apps the government banned, 138 were betting apps while 94 were loan lending apps.
In addition, the government has further issued an advisory, reminding citizens that betting and gambling are illegal in most parts of the country. Moreover, advertisements for these betting platforms are also illegal under Consumer Protection Act 2019, Cable TV Network Regulation Act 1995, and the IT Rules, 2021.
This isn’t the first time when the Government has banned apps with Chinese links. A bunch of other apps such as PUBG: Mobile, Aliexpress, TikTok, and others have been banned citing security concerns where these could be transferring sensitive data of Indians to servers in foreign countries such as China.