PUBG Mobile, a wildly popular game in India, is among 118 more Chinese apps blocked by the government amid fresh geopolitical tensions in Ladakh.
The Ministry said it has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India”.
There are close to 33 million active PUBG players in India, according to reports. The game clocks some 13 million daily users.
The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures. The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.. Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India. There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against Apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.On the basis of these and upon receiving of recent credible inputs that information posted, permissions sought, functionality embedded as well as data harvesting practices of above stated Apps raise serious concerns that these Apps collect and share data in surreptitious manner and compromise personal data and information of users that can have a severe threat to security of the State. In the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India and security of the State. And using the sovereign powers, the Government of India has decided to block the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices. These apps are listed in the attached appendix. – Ministry.
The list also includes other mobile games like Dawn of Isles, Warpath, Mafia City, Arena of Valor, Soul Hunters, Mobile Legends: Pocket and MARVEL Super War. Other popular banned apps include WeChat Work, WeChat reading, Baidu and Meitu.
In June 2020, India banned 59 Chinese apps including social video sharing platform, Tik Tok. The list also included Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Clash of Kings.
China’s data sharing policy which mandates companies to share data with the Chinese government irrespective of where they operate from has been a cause of concern in many countries with even the United States of America contemplating banning certain apps including Tik Tok. While not confirmed, a ban on PUBG Mobile could have significant consequences on the country’s growing gaming and esports scenes.