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CHINESE APPS BAN – LEGALITY IN DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL LAW

This post is authored by Kumar Shubham, a second-year student of BBA LL.B. (Hons.) at the National Law University, Odisha.

Image by Jaap Arriens for NurPhoto via Getty Images

Introduction


Amidst the increase in tensions between India and China due to border disputes, the Indian Government banned 59 Chinese-origin applications that included some top-grossing social media apps such as TikTok and WeChat. The decision to ban these applications was taken to combat the danger posed by such apps to India's "sovereignty and security”. The Government’s position was that it had been receiving several complaints of illegal data transfer to foreign locations without the users’ authorization. Consequently they imposed an interim ban on the listed applications under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act, 2000”) read with the relevant provisions in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009 (“Blocking Rules”). A month later, another ban on 47 more Chinese-origin applications under the same statute was enforced and over 250 apps were kept under radar. The media labelled this step of the Government as a “digital strike on China”.