March 20, 2023

India is transferring to dam 232 apps, some with hyperlinks to China, that supply betting and mortgage companies within the South Asian market to forestall misuse of the residents’ knowledge, the state-owned public broadcaster said Sunday.

The Ministry of Electronics and Data Expertise is within the course of to implement an emergency order to ban 138 betting and playing apps and one other 94 that offered unauthorized mortgage companies within the curiosity of defending the nation’s integrity, the broadcaster mentioned.

The ministry’s transfer was prompted on the route of the Ministry of House Affairs, Prasar Bharti added. The apps sought to mislead prospects into taking large money owed with out realizing the phrases and there have been considerations that they could possibly be used as instruments for espionage and propaganda.

Sunday’s step is the newest in a sequence of presidency efforts to crack down on shark mortgage apps and different companies which can be posing a menace to the nation’s residents.

The Reserve Financial institution of India launched stringent guidelines for digital lending companies final final 12 months, recommending companies present extra transparency and management to prospects.

In keeping with the brand new guidelines, lenders aren’t permitted to extend a buyer’s credit score restrict with out acquiring their consent and are required to reveal the annual mortgage price in specific phrases. Digital lending apps are additionally mandated to take prior specific consent from prospects earlier than gathering any knowledge and all such requests ought to be “need-based.”

India has additionally blocked over 300 apps with hyperlinks to China lately to guard the nation’s sovereignty and integrity. New Delhi banned Tencent’s Xriver, Garena’s Free Fireplace, NetEase’s Onmyoji Area and Astracraft and 50 extra apps with obvious hyperlinks to China early final 12 months. The Indian authorities additionally banned dozens of apps together with ByteDance’s TikTok, Xiaomi’s Neighborhood and Video Name apps and Alibaba Group’s UC Browser and UC Information in mid-2020 amid geopolitical tensions between the 2 neighboring nations.

New Delhi has by no means particularly mentioned that it’s taking actions on apps from any explicit nation.

Brendan Carr, the senior Republican on the Federal Communications Fee, nonetheless praised India’s blocking of TikTok and different apps final month, saying the nation set an “extremely essential precedent” by banning the ByteDance app.

Carr warned that TikTok “operates as a classy surveillance instrument” and located that banning the social app was a “pure subsequent step in our efforts to safe communication community.” Carr mentioned he was frightened that China may use delicate and personal knowledge gleaned from TikTok for “blackmail, espionage, overseas affect campaigns and surveillance.”

“We have to comply with India’s lead extra broadly to weed out different nefarious apps as nicely,” he added.