Author: Anamika, Student at IFIM Law School, Bangalore.
At any moment we will think about India’s connection with other countries first thought which will pop in our mind will be India’s relation with Pakistan and China. We heard numerous things regarding these nations but Indo – China relations are always in headlines because of its territorial dispute. In spite of that also India and China were maintaining good relations with one another.
India banned 59 Chinese apps on 29th June 2020, including the well-known app TikTok, Cam Scanner recognizing menace to National Safety and Privacy of Indian Citizens under Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2020. To any details online either on internet sites or any other mobile apps it permits the Central executive the instruction to obstruct citizen’s access. Section 69A says if any internet sites menaces India’s defence, its sovereignty and integrity, cordial connections with foreign countries and public order, the government can prohibit it, after following required course of action.
Under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009 the comprehensive courses of action for doing so are recorded. Besides this, the court of law might also issue guidance for blocking details online. To enforce licensing conditions, the Department of Telecommunications, as well, can provide blocking orders to internet service providers.
Section 69A also produce room for an incident of an “exigency kind”, in the course of which the appointed office-holder inspects the obstructing entreaty, and submits recommendations to the secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, who, as an interim measure, can provide instructions to obstruct a web page or website. In such cases, the aggrieved party does not obtain a hearing.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THE APPS
The government of India clarified how the apps are illegally exporting our data outside India without our concern and not maintaining our privacy. And it was becoming menace to National Safety and Privacy of Indian Citizens.
MAJOR SAFETY CONCERNS
Several Chinese apps have been on headlines for data privacy and were accused of sharing sensitive details with the Chinese government. After MPs elevate concerns on Privacy and National Safety, Byte Dance of China was asked to keep Indian citizens details locally. As a reply, Byte Dance responded that they will retain the details in India only. In spite of that also all our data was reserved outside India.
HOW CHINESE APPS ARE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FOREIGN APPS?
There’s a history beyond the intention that the ordinary Chinese civilian must barricade national safety from obscure menaces. In 2017, when china made National Intelligence Law, the actual jeopardy of china’s law arose. Chinese National Intelligence law is a menace for India’s National Safety gear. From 2017, China’s National Intelligence Law needs organisations and civilians to hold up, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work. WHAT IT MEANS? If china requires details from a Chinese corporation for any safety cause then the corporation cannot safeguard user’s personal details. They will have to give the details. And all of these details can be used to spy on India. This is not entirely India many countries are facing the identical issues.
APPLE COMPANY OBSERVED A MENACE–
It has been observed that Apple ios 14 feature has been captured by Chinese app TikTok snooping on iPhone’s clipboard. Is it worth the RISK, to give up so much sensitive details to china? Imagine about what we copy on our clipboard – our OTP, links, forwards and everything.
IMPACT OF THE BAN
SOME INDIVIDUALS BE OF THE OPINION THAT THIS APP BAN DOES NOT MAKE ANY CONTRAST –
In 2018, during the time when India briefly banned TikTok and UC Browser which had around 12crore active users while, share it had 20crore users. Byte Dance faced loses worth $ 5000000 daily, that’s actually huge.
SOME EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS
The digital dependency on China must be minimized. The data should stay in our territory only. India should enforce strict laws against it.
China’s strategic partnership – China’s stern mercantile laws says that foreign companies desiring to do business in china might have to associate along with a Chinese organization upon arrival.
For western corporations to work in china they require to go in for a joint venture with a local agency. Blue Hole developers of Pubg PC had to do a joint venture with Tencent Holdings Ltd., a Chinese company to launch Pubg mobile in china. The one and the same regulation must exercise in India too. If any company want to function in India then they are required to function on our business principles. They are required to do partnership with a local tech company and all our data or details must be in India only. Above all the company need to demonstrate that their devotion doesn’t lie with china but it lies with their consumers. And India requires propelling for a strong data protection bill.
RELATABLE CASE LAW
The landmark judgement in 2015 Shreya Singhal v/s Union of India case, the Supreme Court of India confirmed the validity of Section 69A and the remaining blocking course of action. The court of law said that the law was constitutional and a website or a web page could be blocked only on the ground of logical order. The Supreme Court of India also highlighted that the law has enough defence under which the order can only be issued with the committee’s acceptance to block a website after it has heard the aggrieved party. As quoted in the Rules, in all cases, whether emergency or not, the grounds to block the website have to be recorded in writing.
The action taken against Chinese apps by our Indian government has brought aspiration in the heart of Indian citizens. The government demonstrated that those who will not esteem India and India’s data privacy will not be entertained. And banning 59 apps is a proof of it. India will give a befitting response in case it is needed. This move of Indian government was admired by many other countries. And this gave India a better chance to shine and show their creativity in app development. So from this entire step taken by our government, we can hope for the better future of our country and I hope our country will become more self-reliant. India’s huge business partner after the US is China. We can however control how dependent we Indians are on china. Banning these apps should be the first step of our master plan not the end. So let’s reduce our dependency on china even more.