India launches process to ban 138 betting apps and 94 loan apps with links to China

Sources told News 18 that “these apps, which often display predatory behavior to entrap heavily indebted individuals, can also be misused as espionage and propaganda tools, in addition to posing a security risk. data of Indian citizens”.

The government has started the process of banning 138 betting apps and 94 lending apps with Chinese links on an “urgent” and “emergency” basis, News18 reported Sunday. Sources said the action was taken on the recommendation of the Home Office to “emergency block” these apps.

According to an official communication between the two ministries – the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) and the Ministry of Interior – the action was launched after it was confirmed that these applications are covered by the article 69 of the computer law because they contain “elements detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India”, the News 18 reported.

Why is the government banning these apps?

Almost all of these apps are said to have been designed by Chinese nationals who hired Indians and made them managers of the operation. “After luring desperate individuals to take out a loan, they increased interest up to 3,000% per annum,” the report said.

When the debtors were unable to repay the interest, let alone the entire loan, the people representing these applications began to harass those in debt. They sent them obscene messages, threatening to publish their transformed photos and shaming them with messages to their contacts.

The case came to light after a spate of suicides, particularly in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, by those who opted for such loans or lost money from betting apps.

“These apps, often displaying predatory behavior to entrap heavily indebted individuals, can also be misused as espionage and propaganda tools, in addition to posing a risk to the data security of Indian citizens,” said sources. News 18.

States like Telangana, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh as well as central intelligence agencies then asked the Union Home Ministry to take action against the apps, sources said.

Following this, the Interior Ministry began analyzing 28 Chinese loan applications six months ago. However, they found that 94 apps are available on online stores and others work through third-party links.

The report further notes that many apps are no longer available for download on smartphones, but sources indicate that betting apps and games are downloaded via links or independent websites. “They are even played directly online or on social media platforms. Some of them also accept cryptocurrencies as payment,” he said.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has issued a notice stating that since betting and gambling are illegal in most parts of the country, the advertisements of these betting platforms as well as their substitutes are also unlawful under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019. , the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act of 1995 and the IT Rules of 2021.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also advised online advertising intermediaries not to target such advertisements at Indian audiences.


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