Hello! I am working on some privacy projects, however this sudden news prompted me to have a take on the issue. It is political, so I will largely refrain from forming a conclusion.

#FACTS

The one fact I know of is that China, strategically without warfare, took hold of 40-60 km of Indian territory (see Indian defence analyst’s explanation). I do NOT support this, however the fact that the Chinese claims went uncontested by the Indian ministers without any diplomatic talks over this matter is very concerning.

The current political party in power, BJP, is a right wing party and has been in power in India for the past seven years. The conservative party has a long history of banning things they do not like according to their agenda, and this current Chinese app ban goes hand in hand with that.

The Indian cybersecurity department CERT-In says:

“The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received many representations from citizens regarding security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues,” the press release mentioned.

It further says that the move to ban these Chinese apps move will “safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users”. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace, it said.

#CONCERNS FOR INDIANS

The recent military clash tells us this was a politically motivated strong arm move, when on the other hand diplomatic criticism was non existent by the Indian ministry, which tells us more about the current establishment having a habit of manipulating the news media and running it as state media to manipulate the freedom and truth for Indian citizens, and this state media factory works in a very authoritarian and evil manner.

The fact that these apps were accused of spying, while on the other hand, Indian High Court earlier denied this very government from linking of Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp with Aadhaar number, India’s version of USA’s SSN number for citizens, is highly concerning, considering Facebook and Twitter are largely known for mass spying of users and selling of the same data, and openly having close relationships with NSA.

How come this Indian Government has a problem with Chinese entertainment apps like BeautyPlus, a photo makeup app, or TikTok, which has empowered a lot of rural India to showcase their talents without caring about the elitist crowds of Snapchat or Twitter, while themselves selling driver license data of Indian citizens to third parties for some cash? Is this not hypocritical and not questionable? How are Indian citizens supposed to trust their own government in all of this?

Moreover, all of this is not as scary as the dystopian reality of Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and Rule 4 of the Information Technology Rules, 2009, which enable certain Indian agencies to seize any and all electronic data and devices from Indian citizens without warrant and without questioning.

#CONCLUSION (no personal take)

Indian citizens should fight for their privacy and freedom rights, as they are the essential rights that allow one to live freely, exercise their freedom of speech freely in a democratic India, and without fear of governments going around threatening and scaring the masses for dystopian authoritarian control, which seems ironic when they ban Chinese apps.

@artifuchs
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privatelife - privacy, security, freedom advocacy
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