India blocks 14 mobile apps used by Pakistani terrorists: Reports
The government of India has blocked 14 different mobile applications that terrorists in Pakistan were reportedly using as communication platforms to send information to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), according to NDTV. These banned messenger applications include Enigma, Crypviser, Safeswiss, Wickrme, Mediafire, BChat, Briar, Nandbox, IMO, Element, Conion, Second Line, Threema, and Zangi.
Why does this story matter?
Over the past couple of years, India has been taking internet safety very seriously. To recall, the Centre has banned more than 300 Chinese applications since border tensions between India and China escalated in 2020. Reportedly, the recently banned 14 apps were used by terrorists to connect with their sympathizers and over ground workers (OGWs), as well as to get instructions from Pakistan.
All 14 apps blocked under Information Technology Act
The decision was reportedly taken on the recommendation of intelligence and security agencies. A list of applications that pose a threat to national security and do not follow Indian laws was put together, and the concerned ministry was notified of the request to ban them. Furthermore, these applications have been banned under Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.
Official reveals other key reasons behind latest move
"Agencies keep track of channels used by OGWs and terrorists to communicate among themselves," an official told news agency ANI. "While tracking down one of the communication, agencies found that the mobile application does not have representatives in India, and it is difficult to track down activities happening on the app," added the official.
From TikTok to Xender: Looking back at apps India banned
Since 2020, India has banned more than 300 Chinese apps for being "prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of the state and public order." These banned applications included the likes of Shareit, TikTok, WeChat, Likee, Helo, UC News, Bigo Live, Xender, UC Browser, Camscanner, and popular mobile games like Garena Free Fire and PUBG Mobile.
India banned over 230 Chinese apps in February
In February this year, the central government decided to ban more than 230 mobile applications with Chinese links over alleged security threats. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) officially got in touch with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on the "urgent" prohibition of 138 betting and 94 loan lending applications. Thereupon, the MeitY launched the process of blocking these applications.Share this timeline