Government Continues to Ban Chinese Apps on Security Concerns

The GOI, through the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (‘MEITY’) has by way of its Order dated November 24, 2020, blocked access to further 43 Chinese mobile applications, in addition to, previous blocking orders issued by the MEITY on June 29, 2020 (blocking 59 applications) and September 2, 2020 (blocking 118 applications). The Order has been issued under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, on the basis that these applications are engaged in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of State and public order. MEITY has relied on reports received from the Cyber Crime Coordination Center, Ministry of Home Affairs as the basis for issuing the Order. A committee set up under the (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009, will recommend whether these restrictions should continue or be lifted, until which time, these applications will continue to remain blocked.

MEITY in response to a right to information application has clarified that while no penalties are prescribed for individual users found using the blocked apps, intermediaries are liable to penalties as prescribed under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 for non-compliance with the blocking order.

Published In:Inter Alia - Quarterly Edition - December 2020 [ English Chinese
Date: December 31, 2020