Cyber Security – CERTs, Policy, etc

MHA recommends ban on 54 Chinese Apps

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Data sovereignty issue

The Ministry of Home Affairs has recommended a ban on 54 Chinese mobile applications that pose a threat to the country’s security.

Legal basis of app ban

  • The ban has been enforced under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
  • This act empowers to issue directions for blocking for public access of any information through any computer resource.
  • This is done in the interest of –
    1. sovereignty and integrity of India
    2. defense of India, security of the State
    3. friendly relations with foreign states
    4. public order (or)
    5. for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offense relating to above

Why MHA has put such a ban?

  • Most of these apps were operating as clones or shadow apps of the apps that had earlier been banned by the government.
  • There was stealing and secretly transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers that have locations outside India.
  • These apps largely impact the psychosocial abilities of the users.
  • The immediate decision has been taken in a specific strategic and national security

Implications of the ban

  • India’s offensive: The move comes as an exercise of coercive diplomacy with China amid the heated exchange of words during the diplomatic boycott on the winter Olympics.
  • Hurting china’s ambitions: The ban may affect one of China’s most ambitious goals, namely to become the digital superpower of the 21st century.
  • Data nationalization: The ban is also based on the recognition that data streams and digital technology are a new currency of global power.

Issues with the ban

  • Not only China: Data privacy and data security concerns are not limited only to Chinese apps.
  • Harm already caused: The apps that were banned were very popular in India and the move to block them comes after these apps had already amassed hundreds of millions of users in India.
  • Further dependency on China: The ban on Chinese mobile apps is a relatively soft target, as India remains reliant on Chinese products in several critical and strategically sensitive sectors.

Way Forward

  • There is a strong case to revise the key legislations and sync them to change the digital environment.
  • Data privacy and security remain to be major challenges emanating from the ongoing digital revolution.
  • Thus, a data protection law is long overdue.
  • India must speed up indigenization, research, and development, and frame up a regulatory architecture to claim data sovereignty.

 

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