India is blocking more than 230 betting and lending apps, many with ties to China • TechCrunch

India is blocking 232 apps, some with links to China, that provide betting and lending services in the South Asian market to prevent misuse of citizens’ data, public broadcaster state-owned speak Sunday.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is in the process of enforcing an emergency order banning 138 betting and gambling applications and 94 other applications from providing unauthorized lending services in the interest of protecting the integrity of the country. , the broadcaster said.

Prasar Bharti added that the ministry’s move was motivated by the direction of the Interior Ministry. The apps have sought to trick customers into taking on large debts without understanding the terms, and there are concerns that they could be used as a tool for espionage and propaganda.

Sunday’s step is the latest in a series of government efforts to crack down on loan sharks and other services that pose a threat to the nation’s citizens.

Reserve Bank of India put in place strict rules for digital lenders Last year, companies recommended providing more transparency and control to customers.

Under the new rules, lenders are not allowed to increase a customer’s credit line without their consent and must disclose annual loan rates on clear terms. Digital loan applications are also required to obtain explicit prior consent from the customer before any data is collected, and all such requests must be “need-based”.

India has also blocked more than 300 apps with links to China in recent years to protect the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. New Delhi banned Tencent’s Xriver, Garena’s Free Fire, NetEase and Astracraft’s Onmyoji Arena, and 50 other apps with clear links to China early last year. The Government of India also ban dozens of apps including ByteDance’s TikTok, Xiaomi’s Community and Video Calling 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 that it will take action on applications from any particular country.

However, Brendan Carr, a senior Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission, praised India’s blocking of TikTok and other apps last month, saying the country had set out “precedent is very important” by banning the ByteDance app.

Carr warned that TikTok “acts as a sophisticated surveillance tool” and found that banning the social app was “a natural next step in our efforts to secure communications.” Carr said he was worried that China could use sensitive and non-public data collected from TikTok for “campaigns of extortion, espionage, foreign influence, and surveillance.”

He added: “We need to follow India’s lead more broadly to weed out other nefarious apps.

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