BAN ON CHINESE APPLICATIONS BY NAVNEE GULATI @LEXCLIQ

China being the most important trading partner of Indian Business has made it dominance run deep into Indian Economy from several years. The violent clash on 15th June arose Indo- Chinese disturbances and 20 soldiers sacrificed their life on the India-China border in Ladakh. Due to this burning rage the Government of India banned 59 Chinese origin applications which includes TikTok, SHAREIt, CamScanner, Helo, WeChat, Shein, Club Factory claiming national sovereignty and data privacy security issues.

Time and again Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology transparented that it has received number of complaints from different sources about misuse of some of mobile applications for data stealing in an unauthorized manner to the servers which have locations outside the country.

 

CONCEPT OF DATA

Section 2(1)(o) of the Information technology act, 2000 defines “data” to mean “representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts or instructions which are being prepared or have been prepared in a formalized manner and is intended  to be processed, is being processed or has been processed in a computer system or computer network, and may be in any form (including computer printouts magnetic or optical storage media, punched cards, punched tapes) or stored internally in the memory of the computer.

In number of judgements supreme court has talked about privacy as a right, and in August 2017 Supreme Court declared Right to Privacy as a fundamental right guaranteed by part III of the constitution. Undoubtedly in this like the nature surrounds us, data surrounds us virtually. In every move and every breadth, data is scrutinized here or there. Gone are the days when we believed that data is something which we voluntarily share, data is generated and circulated every time in almost everything we do from travel, transport to transferring money, ordering meals and the list goes on beyond one’s imagination.

 

From several years the biggest question has been knowing the fullest potential of data? Data seems to be a new currency today. Several companies are humongously paying for its access but another question which needs attention is that where does this data goes, who has the access to this data, what are the limitations of data reaches, is this access a breach of fundamental right of privacy? Is this a national security / insecurity or just a concern of privacy?

 

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology after digging into insight of all this decided to ban 59 Chinese applications to safeguard the sovereignty and integrity of the Nation by invoking the power under section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act

CONSEQUENCES OF THE BAN

 

There are significant consequences and outcomes on halting the use of several China origin applications. A large part pf population accessed those applications and their services on everyday basis. One of the most talked application ‘TikTok’ has more than 100 million active users in India. For marginalized, trans, lower caste to independent artists Tik Tok became an online platform for content creation and broadcast. It gave people confidence to share their work and showcase their skills even if they lagged in speaking fluently and impressively. Not only this but TikTok gave voice and employment to entrepreneurs and small business owners in rural India.

 

Another group which is majorly affected and impacted by this ban is the Tibetan refugees in Delhi who particularly use we chat to connect with their friends and family in Tibet. They cannot use any other Global social media applications as they are banned in Tibet thus, We Chat was the only way to connect and through it they also accessed news and information.

Many Indian students who enrolled in Chinese universities depended upon the application like We Chat to connect to their respective universities, colleges and administrations which is also affected severely by the ban.

Since these applications were a platform for expression and allowed dissemination of information which is protected by Article 19(1)(a) of Indian constitution, a constitutional challenge has awakened by this ban!

 

 

RESPONSE AND REACTION OF CHINA

 

China stated that such actions by India are inclined towards the violation of World Trade Organization rules. These measures selectively and discriminatorily aims to disrespect and disregard WTO rules and it is also in violation of general trend of international trade and e- commerce. Adding on to this china stated that this move is not parallel and conducive to consumer interest and market competition in India. Also, Chines Government indicated that it could file a legal complaint at WTO.

 

Further Chinese Embassy said that this ban would not only affect the employment of Local Indian workers who support these applications but the user interest of India, employment, livelihood of many creators, workers and entrepreneurs is finished.

The mutual benefit of China-India economic trade cooperation is hampered by this discriminatory practice. Further it was added that bilateral relations have not been kept in mind before making this wild move.

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