Everyone remembers the time when India’s Favorite Nestle’s ‘Maggi noodles’ was banned by the FSSAI for having too much of MSG and Lead. While this was shocking for a lot of people and the product did come back to Indian Market later, a lot of people are going through the same emotions after Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology blocked the public access to 118 apps which Includes PUBG Mobile and the ‘Lite’ version of the same app as well. This list of 118 mobile applications attached to the press release, comes after the ban on 59 Apps, which included Tiktok and Camscanner among others, in June.
The authority for blocking the public access
The Ministry of Electronics and Information & Technology (MEITY), Government of India, through the powers conferred to them under the section 69A of Information Technology Act, read along with Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.
The particular section allows the aforementioned Authority to Block the Public Access of any kind of information (a game or an application can be termed a compilation of this information) which can be accessed through a computer resource( which includes a mobile phone) if they find that it is in the interest of public security and sovereignty of the nation.
The aforementioned rules lay down the procedure for this blockade and determine the whole process as well. It also sets up the necessary bodies/committees and infrastructure to enforce an action issued under Section 69A of IT act, 2000.
The reasons for the ban
The exact order/notice issued by the MEITY isn’t available in the public domain, however, at the outset it appears that the rationale/reason behind the block of public access on these applications is similar to the reasons stated in the ban that was imposed earlier in June. The following reasons were stated in the press release:
MEITY received complaints and reports, from various sources that these apps were stealing and sending user data to foreign servers in an unauthorized manner. The compilation of this user data and its mining could be harmful to the national security and can cause a threat to the sovereignty of the nation.
The collection of this user data in an authorized manner is a severe threat to the privacy of the citizens and hence a threat to the national security as well.
A special wing of Ministry of Home Affairs called Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre has sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.
Due to these above-stated reasons and to protect the interest of Indians on the cyberspace, the said decision was taken.
Consequences of the ban
While a reaction of the companies which suffered from this ban is yet to arrive, it will be interesting to see what ‘Tencent games’, has to say about this ban. All of Tencent’s Mobile Games which were listed on the Android Play store such ‘PUBG mobile’, ‘Ludo All-star’, ‘Arena of Valor’ and ‘Chess Rush’ have been mentioned in the list of the apps which are supposed to get banned. While the said order is silent about its effect on PUBG pc and the other mobile/pc games which are also owned by Tencent, it will surely affect the Esports Industry and the mobile/tech sales in India which was currently booming because of the Popularity of PUBG mobile. It will also be interesting to see how the Live streaming Content creators on various platforms, such as Twitch and YouTube, will mould and shape themselves to this ‘ban’ as they primarily used to stream and play Pubg Mobile.