The banning of Chinese apps in India is rampant and more than 260 apps have been already banned by India’s IT Ministry, as of November 2020.
Among several other sanctions on China imposed by countries including India, the US, Japan, and Australia complete prohibition on the use of Chinese apps is seen as a major step to loosen CCP hold on espionage work or surveillance work.
The Chinese tech giants have been snooping into other economies and gathering illegitimate intel on the users, violating the sovereignty, integrity, national security, and public order of these nations. Thus, it became important for India to strike back by imposing a ban on major Chinese apps alleged to compromised privacy rules.
Instead of projecting its transparency report and privacy practice, China claimed this act as discriminatory and a violation of relevant WTO rules. This claim of China does not hold ground because WTO law allows for security exemptions, which permit States to deviate from the provisions enshrined in GATT or GATS when it considers such deviation necessary for the protection of their essential security interests in time of war or another emergency in international relations.
Moreover, China cannot cry foul play when it itself has banned the use of western applications and websites, such as Facebook and Google, by its own citizens.
China is conducting espionage activities in other countries through its Internet companies, and subsequently, violating the investment and trade agreements signed with India and other countries. Chinese government’s interference in the functioning of its major internet companies compelled the user countries to take legislative steps to secure the interests of its citizens. This move has significantly reduced the presence of Chinese investors in the Indian markets.
Besides, the privacy threat posed by Chinese services, especially internet apps, has surfaced time and again. Recently, the security advisors of the European Union considered the presence of Chinese services in the security surveillance for stealing personal and private data, and uploading it on the cloud along with the user’s data on family, friends, biometrics, facial recognition is working at a pace.
Chinese tech experts have allegedly hacked the official sites of the US and countries in the EU to steal information, such as passport numbers. America claims that the Chinese have been found hacking credit rating companies to attain intimate credit details.
Moreover, intrusions in healthcare agencies were found to get medical information. Chinese authorities tend to create requirements by manipulating the information received by the app user looking into every little personal information. As explained by some experts, the reason for Chinese virtual intrusions is social credit scores.
Chinese tend to give scores on the basis of how people are viewing the other party. Reports show that the ban by India and other import sanctions by different countries have had a profound effect on Chinese companies.
Considering these major concerns, India has been facing a dilemma with respect to China and its relation with it. As the Galwan valley armed conflict escalated the tensions between the countries, India took a retaliatory measure by imposing the first set of app bans. India felt the need to further ban more apps.
On account of illegal compilation of data, its mining and profiling by elements being hostile to national security and defense of India, which ultimately impinges upon its sovereignty and integrity of India, taking the decision was a matter of very grave and immediate concern which required urgent measures. It was a matter of serious security and economic concerns for India.
Chinese apps, once the most frequently used apps, have lost goodwill as many of the banned apps are operated in India by Chinese investors through the direct establishment of Chinaowned or co-owned companies, which are allegedly sharing data across China.
India is committed to fair and equitable treatment of Chinese investors under the agreements signed, only if China does not illegally expropriate investments by breaching trust and commitment, as it has been doing. Investments by Chinese companies in India and the penetration of the former in the large Indian market have also plummeted. With these moves, the Indian government has snuffed out the hopes of Chinese spies as no nation can bear the risk of national security and harm the interests of people.