PUBG Mobile and 117 other apps with links to China were banned on Wednesday by the government under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, and by using the provisions of Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.
In its press release, the government said that the apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity” of the country, and have the risk of leaking user data. However, legal experts are questioning the way the government is using its sovereign powers to ban popular apps in the country.
The latest ban is third in a series of bans. The government already banned 106 “Chinese” apps in the country in a little over two months, with two similar actions in June and July.
The first decision was taken in late June, while its follow up was ordered nearly a month later, near the end of July.
All three apps ban that came into force in the country in over the last two months are believed to be around the apps that have a connection with China. However, the government hasn’t explicitly mentioned the word “China” or “Chinese” in any of its statements.
“The omission of the word China in these press releases by itself is somewhat of a peculiar omission,” said Gupta of IFF. He added that the addition of the word China did help users who have already downloaded those apps to actually participate and take care of by uninstalling them.
“I think civic participation and trust in all these decisions, which are being taken by the government is very essential for the success of all these state objectives of ensuring national security and preventing theft of data of Indian users,” he said.