India blocks over 230 betting and lending apps, many with ties to China • TechCrunch

India is set to block 232 apps, some with links to China, that offer betting and lending services in the South Asian market to prevent misuse of citizens’ data, the public broadcaster said. owned by the state. said Sunday.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is enforcing an emergency order banning 138 betting and gambling apps and 94 others that provided unauthorized lending services for the sake of to protect the integrity of the country, the broadcaster said.

The ministry’s decision was prompted by the Interior Ministry, Prasar Bharti added. The apps sought to trick customers into taking on large debts without knowing the terms and there were fears that they could be used as spying and propaganda tools.

Sunday’s step 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 introduced tough rules for digital lending firms last year, recommending companies provide more transparency and control to customers.

Under the new rules, lenders are not allowed to increase a customer’s credit limit without their consent and are required to disclose the annual loan rate in explicit terms. 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 China-related apps in recent years to protect the nation’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 apparent ties to China early last year. The Indian government also banned dozens of apps, including ByteDance’s TikTok, Xiaomi’s Community and Video Call apps, and Alibaba Group’s UC Browser and UC News in mid-2020 amid geopolitical tensions between the two neighboring countries.

New Delhi has never specifically said it was taking action on apps from any particular country.

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

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

“We need to follow India’s lead more broadly to weed out other bad apps as well,” he added.


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