Popular short-video making application TikTok was recently taken down from the Google Play Store. The move comes a day after the Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT announced an official ban on a list of 59 apps based in China, including popular applications like TikTok, UC Browser, WeChat, and more.
As per a statement by the Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok, India, the team is “in the process of complying with” the ban. “We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications. TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and have not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government, said the statement.
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“Further if we are requested to in the future we would not do so. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity,” added the note. The app is now no more visible on the shelves of the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. While other apps from the list including Helo are also missing, certain apps from the list including UC Browser are still visible on the Play Store.
The banning of the 59 Chinese origin apps in question is speculated to be connected to the escalating border tensions between India and neighboring country China. The tensions have been escalating since a deadly clash that took place on the border at Galwan Valley, Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
The applications were banned yesterday, June 29, 2020 for “engaging in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” While the apps themselves have been taken down from the Play Store and App Store, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country have also been asked to block access and data to these applications.
TikTok could return from the interim ban
The interim ban means that these apps, including TikTok, will be given a chance to respond to the government’s security concerns in front of a committee that includes various ministries. It will then be decided if the ban must be revoked or continued.