Video sharing app TikTok India, one of the 59 mobile applications blocked by the central government on Monday, said it had not shared any Indian users’ information with “any foreign government, including the Chinese government”. On Tuesday, it also asserted that it “would not do so” in the future too.
The firm added that it had been invited by the Indian government to offer clarifications. “We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications,” said TikTok India head Nikhil Gandhi. Reiterating that it placed the highest importance on user privacy and integrity, the company said it was in the process of adhering to the government order and “continued to comply with data privacy and security requirements under Indian law”.
Gandhi in his statement mentioned the importance of the app for Indian users. “TikTok has democratised the internet by making it available in 14 Indian languages, with hundreds of million of users, artists, story-tellers, educators and performers depending on it for their livelihood, many of whom are first time internet users,” the statement read.
Apart from TikTok, some of the other apps that have been blocked are WeChat, UC Browser, Shein, Weibo, Cam Scanner and Xaomi’s Mi Video Call. The Centre on Monday claimed that the 59 apps now blocked “are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
The order by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology came nearly two weeks after 20 Indian soldiers were killed and 76 wounded in a violent clash with their Chinese counterparts in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control. Following the incident, there has been outrage in India, with many calling for a ban on Chinese products. There were protests around the country, with some people destroying and burning Chinese-made goods. Some politicians, such as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, have also called for a prohibition on Chinese goods.
The ministry said that it has received complaints from various sources about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms that steal and transfer users’ data in an unauthorised manner to locations outside India. The ministry added that this situation required “emergency measures”.