Today, we heard the news item through TV, newspapers and other media that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India invoking it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of emergent threats has decided to block 118 mobile apps( list discussed later) since in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order. The press release is reproduced below from their web site:

https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1650669 posted on 02 September 2020 at 5.26 PM by PIB Delhi.

The list enclosed as an appendix is reproduced below:

  1. APUS Launcher Pro- Theme, Live Wallpapers, Smart
  2. APUS Launcher -Theme, Call Show, Wallpaper, HideApps
  3. APUS Security -Antivirus, Phone security, Cleaner
  4. APUS Turbo Cleaner 2020- Junk Cleaner, Anti-Virus
  5. APUS Flashlight-Free & Bright
  6. Cut Cut – Cut Out & Photo Background Editor
  7. Baidu
  8. Baidu Express Edition
  9. FaceU – Inspire your Beauty
  10. ShareSave by Xiaomi: Latest gadgets, amazing deals
  11. CamCard – Business Card Reader
  12. CamCard Business
  13. CamCard for Salesforce
  14. CamOCR
  15. InNote
  16. VooV Meeting – Tencent Video Conferencing
  17. Super Clean – Master of Cleaner, Phone Booster
  18. WeChat reading
  19. Government WeChat
  20. Small Q brush
  21. Tencent Weiyun
  22. Pitu
  23. WeChat Work
  24. Cyber Hunter
  25. Cyber Hunter Lite
  26. Knives Out-No rules, just fight!
  27. Super Mecha Champions
  28. LifeAfter
  29. Dawn of Isles
  30. Ludo World-Ludo Superstar
  31. Chess Rush
  32. PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik
  33. PUBG MOBILE LITE
  34. Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade
  35. Art of Conquest: Dark Horizon
  36. Dank Tanks
  37. Warpath
  38. Game of Sultans
  39. Gallery Vault – Hide Pictures And Videos
  40. Smart AppLock (App Protect)
  41. Message Lock (SMS Lock)-Gallery Vault Developer Team
  42. Hide App-Hide Application Icon
  43. AppLock
  44. AppLock Lite
  45. Dual Space – Multiple Accounts & App Cloner
  46. ZAKZAK Pro – Live chat & video chat online
  47. ZAKZAK LIVE: live-streaming & video chat app
  48. Music – Mp3 Player
  49. Music Player – Audio Player & 10 Bands Equalizer
  50. HD Camera Selfie Beauty Camera
  51. Cleaner – Phone Booster
  52. Web Browser & Fast Explorer
  53. Video Player All Format for Android
  54. Photo Gallery HD & Editor
  55. Photo Gallery & Album
  56. Music Player – Bass Booster – Free Download
  57. HD Camera – Beauty Cam with Filters & Panorama
  58. HD Camera Pro & Selfie Camera
  59. Music Player – MP3 Player & 10 Bands Equalizer
  60. Gallery HD
  61. Web Browser – Fast, Privacy & Light Web Explorer
  62. Web Browser – Secure Explorer
  63. Music player – Audio Player
  64. Video Player – All Format HD Video Player
  65. Lamour Love All Over The World
  66. Amour- video chat & call all over the world.
  67. MV Master – Make Your Status Video & Community
  68. MV Master – Best Video Maker & Photo Video Editor
  69. APUS Message Center-Intelligent management
  70. LivU Meet new people & Video chat with strangers
  71. Carrom Friends : Carrom Board & Pool Game-
  72. Ludo All Star- Play Online Ludo Game & Board Games
  73. Bike Racing : Moto Traffic Rider Bike Racing Games
  74. Rangers Of Oblivion : Online Action MMO RPG Game
  75. Z Camera – Photo Editor, Beauty Selfie, Collage
  76. GO SMS Pro – Messenger, Free Themes, Emoji
  77. U-Dictionary: Oxford Dictionary Free Now Translate
  78. Ulike – Define your selfie in trendy style
  79. Tantan – Date For Real
  80. MICO Chat: New Friends Banaen aur Live Chat karen
  81. Kitty Live – Live Streaming & Video Live Chat
  82. Malay Social Dating App to Date & Meet Singles
  83. Alipay
  84. AlipayHK
  85. Mobile Taobao
  86. Youku
  87. Road of Kings- Endless Glory
  88. Sina News
  89. Netease News
  90. Penguin FM
  91. Murderous Pursuits
  92. Tencent Watchlist (Tencent Technology
  93. Learn Chinese AI-Super Chinese
  94. HUYA LIVE – Game Live Stream
  95. Little Q Album
  96. Fighting Landlords – Free and happy Fighting Landlords
  97. Hi Meitu
  98. Mobile Legends: Pocket
  99. VPN for TikTok
  100. VPN for TikTok
  101. Penguin E-sports Live assistant
  102. Buy Cars-offer everything you need, special offers and low prices
  103. iPick
  104. Beauty Camera Plus – Sweet Camera & Face Selfie
  105. Parallel Space Lite – Dual App
  106. “Chief Almighty: First Thunder BC
  107. MARVEL Super War NetEase Games
  108. AFK Arena
  109. Creative Destruction NetEase Games
  110. Crusaders of Light NetEase Games
  111. Mafia City Yotta Games
  112. Onmyoji NetEase Games
  113. Ride Out Heroes NetEase Games
  114. Yimeng Jianghu-Chu Liuxiang has been fully upgraded
  115. Legend: Rising Empire NetEase Games
  116. Arena of Valor: 5v5 Arena Games
  117. Soul Hunters
  118. Rules of Survival

Just for academic interest, I reproduced the list for recollection purposes.

Let us discuss the matter.

 The communique further added that due to receipt of several complaints from various sources including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on

Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting user’s data in an unauthorized manner to servers located outside India action was initiated.

The above acts needed immediate action in its view and hence the urgent action that resulted in the suspension of apps.

In my earlier article dated 2nd July 2020 in taxguru.in, I have quoted detailed information from a legal angle and emphasized the importance of huge investments by Chinese companies to gain a foothold in India particularly in view of huge youngsters who are the current as well as the future customers for these high-tech apps.

What future foretells?

At the outermost, the argument is approved by everyone that the last ban opened the door for Indian apps to venture in with better substitutes who are performing better than the older ones from China.

Unfortunately, previously, we did not invest in the imagination of our startups which have to struggle with little support from the ecosystem in India which did not have the flavor of new innovations with immediate results.

But the young entrepreneurs belying the older generations have outperformed the expectations of the nation and a large number of them with the best valuations with the shortest time, have attracted large sums of investments from investors from around the globe who want opportunities to place their funds with huge expectations.

Let me explain in simple terms.

Live mint dated 26th June 2020 informed us of the following information:

https://www.livemint.com/companies/start-ups/byju-s-raises-funding-from-mary-meeker-s-vc-firm-valuation-rises-to-10-5-bn-11593162078797.html

News item reproduced from the above news item.

“New Delhi/Bengaluru: Online learning startup Byju’s (Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd) has raised a fresh round of funding from Bond, a global technology investment firm co-founded by Mary Meeker, at a valuation of $10.5 billion.

The funding amount was not disclosed.

The latest funding comes after Tiger Global had invested $200 million in Byju’s in January, valuing the ed-tech platform than at around $8 billion.

The new funding makes Byju’s second most valued startup in India, overtaking hospitality startup Oyo, which was last valued at $10 billion.

Paytm was valued at $16 billion late last year when it raised its $1 billion Series Ground.

The fresh fundraise from Bond comes at a time when the edtech startup has been stepping-up hiring. Mint reported on Thursday that Byju’s is set to hire around 4,000 employees in the next six months as demand for its online courses skyrocketed since the lockdown in March.”

This happening in India with the human, financial, social or cultural resources combined with the brilliant brain of the youngster Mr. Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO has attracted the investing from high net worth investors around the globe.

This crisis has brought online learning to the forefront and has helped parents, teachers, and students alike to experience and understand the value of it, Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO said.

Let us also quote his words for inspiration.

“We have the opportunity to positively influence how teachers teach, students learn, and the school’s function. The ‘Classrooms of Tomorrow’ will have technology at the core, empowering students to cross over from passive to active learning. The result will be a combination of the best of both online and offline educational offerings.”

Now let us concentrate on the new startups from India.

Economic Times, dated 6th August 2020, has the following information.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/indian-apps-see-surge-of-new-entrants-out-to-replace-banned-chinese-peers/articleshow/77384209.cms?from=mdr

News item runs as under:

Young developers from places such as Solapur in Maharashtra and Gir Somnath village in Gujarat have launched Indian alternatives to consumer-centric Chinese utility apps.

These apps — such as Kaagaz Scanner, Bharat Scanner, Share India, ShareKaro — focus on categories like file-sharing and management, photo-scanning, and phone cache cleaning, among other applications.

Whenever banning any apps comes in a democratic nation like us, the intelligentsia starts questioning the powers of the central government.

Let me clarify the legal position as under:

Legal position of the central government Information Technology Act 2000, section 69A reads as under:

“69A. Power to issue directions for blocking for public access of any information through any computer resource.–(1) Where the Central Government or any of its officers specially authorized by it in this behalf is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do, in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offense relating to above, it may subject to the provisions of sub-section

(2), for reasons to be recorded in writing, by order, direct any agency of the Government or intermediary to block for access by the public or cause to be blocked for access by the public any information generated, transmitted, received, stored, or hosted in any computer resource.

(2) The procedure and safeguards subject to which such blocking for access by the public may be carried out shall be such as may be prescribed.

(3) The intermediary who fails to comply with the direction issued under sub-section (1) shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and also be liable to fine.”

Let me enlighten with simple language for a clearer understanding:

  • Reasons explained under 1) do exist.
  • The recent provoking by the Chinese or their unsolicited behavior resulting in the martyrdom of our soldiers though do not find any mention in communication, does play its own part.
  • Yes, the reasons have to be in writing, with explicit mention, and also by order. Agreed, all terms fulfilled.
  • The procedure and safeguard stand carried out.
  • We often hear of clear violations by intermediaries like Google, or Apple who allow downloading by non- removal from their web sites would face terms of imprisonment or fine or both. However, almost all intermediaries invariably cooperate with government orders since being rule-based and legal bodies with character, they cooperate with governments.

Conclusion

When I wrote my earlier article at the time of the ban of 59 mobile apps, the picture was not clear whether the ban would affect the intelligent working of minds of our youth, middle-aged, or seniors who were accustomed to the usage of those apps. But as explained in detail, whenever the national sovereignty issues are involved, the authorities are required to act and protect national interests. But this time, coupled with the national interest, the capacity of Indian youth from the startups have raised the bar and millions of downloads of their apps have bound the hands of the government to help them. At least allow them to grow without any interaction from hostile countries. It has been made clear this time by many startups they will outshine earlier experience by new technical excellence.

I have quoted many startups from recognized newspapers with sufficient information to emphasize my arguments.

Happier days are yet to come to the nation from these bubbling and energetic youth of our nation. Who knows this action will further spur more good results?

Disclaimer: I have given my views on many news items from the government which are totally my views. Neither the views represent taxguru.in nor various government departments. This is not legal advice. Anyone can easily refer to original legal references for guidance.

Download Ban of 59 mobile applications: its implications & effect on related business

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Company: subramanian natarajan cpa firm
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