118 Apps Banned List

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 3, 2022, 10:05

On February 14, 2022, the Government of India blocked 54 Chinese apps citing threats to national security and privacy & espionage concerns. The Centre said the 54 apps were clones of Chinese apps blocked earlier, too, for collecting sensitive user data but returned with new names. Earlier, the Government of India had issued a list of Chinese apps banned in India 2020 following no end to the simmering tensions with the Chinese PLA at the LAC in Ladakh.   

How many Chinese Apps were Blocked Earlier by India? 

As many as 267 apps were blocked in 2020 over privacy and security concerns. The action also followed the deadly Galwan Valley clash between the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA. Then Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad termed the action a “digital strike against China.”

Reasons for Valentine’s Day 2022 Apps Ban 

The IT ministry said the 54 apps were blocked and banned (in addition to the list of Chinese apps banned in India 2020) for transmitting real-time data to servers located in a “hostile” country, which was using these apps to collect personal data of Indians to mine, collate, analyze and profile; to hurt the sovereignty and integrity of India, to indulge in activities detrimental to India's national security.

Which Ministry Ordered Valentine’s Day 2022 Action Against the Chinese apps? 

The “request” to block the 54 Chinese apps came from the Union Home Ministry under an emergency provision of the IT Act. The Union Home Ministry said the apps were either cloned versions of previously banned apps or had similar functionality.

  • The blocked apps in the list of Chinese apps banned in India 2020 were also capable of espionage and surveillance activities via “camera/mic”. 
  • They could access GPS; also do malicious network activity. 
  • They had engaged in activities prejudicial to India’s sovereignty and integrity.
  • They posed a threat to India’s security and her defence.

Which all Apps Were Blocked?

Some of the more popular Chinese apps that have been blocked and banned included Tencent Xriver, Lost Crusade, Beauty Camera, Equalizer, Music player, Rise of Kingdoms, and Conqueror Online II.

The most popular Chinese app, TikTok, had met a similar fate in June 2020, shortly after the Galwan Valley clash, along with 59 other apps. 

In addition to these, several other popular gaming apps are on the list of Chinese apps banned in India 2020, 10 of which are listed here.

  1. Dawn of Isles
  2. Ludo World-Ludo Superstar
  3. Chess Rush
  4. PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik
  5. PUBG MOBILE LITE
  6. Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade
  7. Art of Conquest: Dark Horizon
  8. Dank Tanks
  9. Warpath
  10. Game of Sultans

Further Actions 2020    

A month after the TikTok ban, in July 2020, mirror applications were hit for violating the ban. In September 2020, another 118 mobile applications, including the hugely popular PUBG, were blocked for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner.” 

The 54 Chinese apps banned in 2022 posed a threat to India’s security. Their makers had obtained permission to collect sensitive user data. The real-time data thus obtained was transmitted to servers located in a “hostile country.” The Centre cited privacy, security, and espionage concerns for the list of Chinese apps banned in India 2020. Some of the apps were clones of already blocked apps, but worst of all was that they had armed themselves with permissions to gather critical user data, how?

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FAQs on 118 Apps Banned List

Q.1) How many Chinese apps have been blocked so far?  

A: A total of 267 apps in 2020 plus another 54 in 2022, which adds up to 321.

Q.2) Which kinds of apps were blocked? 

A: The apps ranged from music players to selfie cameras; app locks to notepads, gaming, and video chat.

Q.3) Can you give a break-up of the ban?

A: Here’s a break-up of dates and numbers…   

  • 59 applications banned on June 29, 2020
  • 47 applications banned on August 10, 2020 
  • 118 applications banned on September 1, 2020
  • 43 applications banned on November 19, 2020
  • 54 applications banned on February 14, 2022

Q.4) Which major Chinese companies were targeted?

A: Gaming titles of Tencent and Netease were on the list of Chinese apps banned in India 2020, which also did not spare Chinese tech giants like Baidu and Alibaba affiliate, the Ant Group.