EXPLAINED | Why Some of the 59 Banned Apps are Operational
GUWAHATI: Amid rising tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre took an unprecedented step on June 29 banning 59 apps originating from China.
Inputs from intelligence agencies had earlier revealed that these mobile apps were being used by developers as either spyware or malware and were clearly violating terms of usage by violating privacy of users.
The ban was imposed under Section 69A of the IT Act with relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.
Are these apps still operational?
Most of the apps which were banned are still listed on the Google Play Store and App Store and people are still able to install and use them.
Some apps like TikTok have been removed from the stores while others will be removed soon as the Indian government has issued notices to both Apple and Google to restrict these applications from stores.
Will you still be able to download these apps from elsewhere?
No, once these apps are removed from the Google Play Store and the App store, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Telecom Operators might also black-list every host-name and domain associated with these Chinese apps.
No more APKs (Android Package) for those who thought these to be their last resort. Earlier, when an application would not be available on the play stores, users could download APKs of these apps from other online sources.
What is an APK?
An APK or an Android Package is a Package file format that is used by Android and a number of other Android-based operating systems for distribution and installation of mobile apps, mobile games and middleware.
How then can there be a complete ban on these apps?
To ensure a complete ban on the apps of Chinese origin, ISPs will stop data traffic on all these platforms which is one of the major factors behind why the apps are still functional. When the apps are blocked at the networks, there will be no way that you can use it unless you decide to use a VPN.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) takes your internet connection and makes it more secure. It helps you stay anonymous and get around blocks and access censored sites. It lends you a temporary IP address and hides your true IP address from every website or email you connect with.
As per the latest developments on the issue, there is said to be insufficient information on how exactly do these Chinese apps raise national security concerns and to what extent.
Meanwhile, there have also been researches that showed that some Chinese apps like Helo and Shareit collect more than the required amount of information and permissions such as access to cameras and microphones alongside location information.