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‘India needs to recover its user data from banned Chinese apps’

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The government must direct the banned Chinese apps to hand over the entire data of Indian users, former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue K.N. Govindacharya has urged.

In a letter addressed to the Union Home Secretary, Govindacharya said that the government should also pave the way for cybersecurity audit of these apps by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) so that senstive and valuable Indian data are not further compromised.

Last year, India had banned over 200 apps citing various reasons, including national security concerns and reports of stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.

“This data theft is akin to a usual theft, where the police not only catch the thieves, but also try to recover the stolen goods. However, sans any grievance redressal mechanism of these apps, the users are left stranded with no remedy to act on their complaints,” Govindacharya wrote in the letter seen by IANS.

Therefore, the government must ensure the data which have already been collected are not misused by these Chinese companies, argued Govindacharya, a patron of Rashtriya Swabhimaan Aandolan.

“The government ought to ensure that these companies do not generate undue commercial gains from data already accumulated of crores of Indians,” read the letter dated January 30.

The Chinese apps under interim ban include Club Factory, SHAREit, Likee, Mi Video Call (Xiaomi), Weibo, Baidu, BIGO LIVE, WeChat, UC Browser and Xiaomi’s Mi Community.

Media reports also suggest that the Union government has decided to permanently ban 59 Chinese mobile applications, including TikTok.

Moreover, the Central Bureau of Investigation on January 19 had registered a case against UK-based Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research Limited in a case of alleged “illegal harvest” of personal data of 5.62 lakh Indian Facebook users.

“Whereas, in Cambridge Analytica, the data of about 5 lakh Indians were compromised, the quantum of number of users in relation to Chinese apps in crores. Therefore, there is more urgent and greater need for safeguarding this precious data, and also initiating prosecution of those responsible for criminal actions,” Govindacharya wrote in the letter.

-IANS

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