Home Technology India blocks more than 230 gambling and lending apps, many with ties to China businessroundups.org

India blocks more than 230 gambling and lending apps, many with ties to China businessroundups.org

by Ana Lopez
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India will block 232 apps, some with links to China, that offer gambling and loan services in the South Asian market to prevent misuse of citizens’ data, the state-owned public broadcaster reports. said Sunday.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is enforcing an emergency order to ban 138 betting and betting apps and another 94 that provided unauthorized loan services in the interest of protecting the integrity of the country, the broadcaster said.

The move of the ministry was prompted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Prasar Bharti added. The apps attempted to trick customers into taking on large debts without realizing the terms and there were concerns that they could be used as espionage and propaganda tools.

Sunday’s move is the latest in a series of government efforts to crack down on shark loan apps and other services that pose a threat to the country’s citizens.

The Reserve Bank of India last year introduced strict rules for companies providing digital loans, recommending companies provide customers with greater transparency and control.

Under the new rules, lenders are not allowed to increase a customer’s credit limit without obtaining their consent and are required to explicitly disclose the annual loan interest rate. Digital lending apps are also required to obtain prior explicit consent from customers before collecting data and all such requests must be “needs based”.

India has also blocked more than 300 apps linking to China in recent years to protect the country’s sovereignty and integrity. New Delhi banned Tencent’s Xriver, Garena’s Free Fire, NetEase’s Onmyoji Arena and Astracraft and 50 other apps with clear links to China early last year. The Indian government also banned dozens of apps in mid-2020, including ByteDance’s TikTok, Xiaomi’s Community and Video Call apps, and Alibaba Group’s UC Browser and UC News, amid geopolitical tensions between the two neighboring countries.

New Delhi has never specifically said it will take action on apps from any particular country.

However, Brendan Carr, the senior Republican at the Federal Communications Commission, praised India’s blocking of TikTok and other apps last month, saying the country has set an “incredibly important precedent” by banning the ByteDance app.

Carr warned that TikTok “works as a sophisticated surveillance tool” and found that banning the social app was a “natural next step in our efforts to secure the communications network.” Carr said he feared China could use sensitive and non-public data from TikTok for “blackmail, espionage, foreign influence campaigns and surveillance”.

“We need to follow India’s example more broadly to ban other nefarious apps as well,” he added.

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