India bans more Chinese apps and questions them on censorship and security
BANGALORE - The Indian government has banned more Chinese mobile applications this week.. Read more at straitstimes.com.
An initial ban of 59 apps in June came in response to border clashes between the two countries in May that resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers.The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had said after the initial app ban on June 29 that the Chinese tech companies might be"stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had said that China was"strongly concerned" about the Indian notice.On August 4, the Indian government banned more Chinese apps, but did not disclose the names.The first set of apps to be blocked included ByteDance-owned video sharing app Tik Tok, Alibaba-owned UC Browser, Tencent's WeChat, file sharing app SHAREit, beauty app Meitu, online shopping app Shein and two apps of mobile phone maker Xiaomi.
The newly banned apps appear to be clones or light versions of the already banned apps, like Tiktok Lite, Helo Lite, SHAREit Lite and BIGO LIVE Lite.These apps are not available for download on Google and Apple Play Stores in India anymore. Users are also unable to access Mi Browser, which comes preinstalled in Xiaomi mobile phones.
The Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, Counselor Ji Rong, criticised this week's ban:"The Indian government has the responsibility to protect the legitimate rights and interests of international investors in India, including Chinese businesses, in accordance with market principles. Practical cooperation between China and India is mutually beneficial. Deliberate interference in such cooperation will not serve the interests of the Indian side."
Meanwhile, companies that faced bans earlier are having to respond to an Indian government investigation about their operations in India.In mid-July, India's IT ministry sent the companies a list of 77 questions, reported Reuters and The Times of India.
A Tik Tok spokesperson told The Straits Times that the company had submitted its response to the government and that"throughout the duration of our operations, we have demonstrated unequivocal commitment to complying with the local laws, including data privacy and security requirements." .
TikTok is the most popular of the banned apps, with about 200 million users in the country. India is its largest foreign market, accounting for 30 per cent of global downloads.Xiaomi India, Meitu, and Alibaba did not respond to The Straits Times' queries about the number or contents of the questions asked.
India's IT Ministry also did not comment.A Reuters report based on ministry sources said some of the queries in the questionnaire were about whether the Chinese apps censored any content related to the militant attack in Pulwama district of Kashmir in February last year, in which 40 security force personnel died.
The companies have also been asked if they work on behalf of foreign governments, receive Chinese government subsidies or have lobbied celebrities and influencers in India, as well as whether they faced any investigation in the United States, European Union or elsewhere for surreptitiously harvesting user data.
The Chinese companies were given three weeks to respond.The local tech industry is now seeing a surge in homemade apps, as Indians look for alternatives to the banned ones.Kaagaz Scanner and Bharat Scanner, for instance, have emerged to replace the banned CamScanner, a photo scanning app. Short video apps like Mitron TV and Chingari are trying to capture the huge market Tik Tok created.
Comments in the review section praise the apps as"best to defeat tik tok", but suggest better animations, search buttons and features that are lighter on data usage. Read more: The Straits Times »
Sexual offences, quotas and serving NS: K Shanmugam speaks frankly about women’s issues
After launching a series of public engagements on women’s issues in a move towards greater gender equality on Sunday (Sep 20), Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam sits down with Lin Suling to talk about gender relations, the law and sexual offences, and women in the workplace. He also gives his take on whether quotas would work and responds to comments about women serving National Service.
Buy now, pay later firm Sezzle tests the waters in India for year-end launchBENGALURU: Sezzle Inc is testing its buy-now-pay-later service in India for a potential launch at the end of the year, its chief executive officer ...
Eight COVID-19 patients die in hospital fire in western IndiaEight COVID-19 patients died in a fire that broke out in the intensive care ward of a private hospital in India's western city of Ahmedabad early ...
More businesses in India re-open even as Covid-19 cases surgeMUMBAI (REUTERS) - India reported on Wednesday (Aug 5) 52,509 new cases of coronavirus, taking its tally of infections to more than 1.91 million, nevertheless authorities eased restrictions aimed at limiting its spread, allowing gyms and yoga studios to open.. Read more at straitstimes.com.
India has biggest disconnect between stock rally, economic gloom[MUMBAI] Of all the countries in the world, the disconnect between rallying global stocks and deteriorating data is probably the most pronounced in India. Read more at The Business Times.
Commentary: COVID-19 is leaving India hungry in more ways than oneMany are faced with the cruel trade-off between defying the lockdown and catching the virus, or remaining at home and seeing their scanty food ...
India faces growing biomedical waste crisis as coronavirus cases soarNEW DELHI - Ms Arasmani Devi, 36, plucks out a needle from a used injection with her bare hands, before throwing its plastic barrel and plunger into a sack of potentially recyclable items. Her 40-year-old husband Akhilesh Paswan works next to her at a recycling yard in Noida, a suburb near Delhi.. Read more at straitstimes.com.