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India bans 59 Chinese apps including Tik Tok! How the ban may be enforced?

India bans 59 Chinese apps including Tik Tok! How the ban may be enforced?
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While there has been no communication from the government about how it would enforce the ban, TNM spoke to a few experts to understand ways in which the ban could be enforced.

In a sudden move on Monday night, the government of India banned 59 Chinese apps including Tik Tok, Shein, Camscanner, Club Factory, among others. Some of these apps have millions of downloads in India.

As its reasoning behind banning these apps, the government said that these apps are engaged in activities which are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

As of Tuesday morning, only TikTok went off from the Play Store. However, the app, if already present on your smartphone, continues to work. This has brought about confusion as to how the ban would be enforced.

While there has been no communication from the government about how it would enforce the ban, TNM spoke to a few cyber security, digital experts to understand ways in which the government could enforce the ban.

For starters, the government could write to Google and Apple and ask them to remove these apps from the Play Store and App Store in India. This would mean that Google and Apple make these apps unavailable in India by geo-restricting it, but these would still be available in other geographical locations.

The other way to do this would be by approaching Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Telecom Service Providers (TSPs).

According to a paper by the Centre for Internet and Society, legal provisions in India – Section 69A and Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) Act — allow the Central Government and the various courts in the country to issue website-blocking orders that ISPs are legally bound to comply with.

According to Pranesh Prakash, an expert in digital and cyber law, the government could approach ISPs to block these apps. At the ISP level, Pranesh says, there are multiple things that can be banned.

Domain names: TikTok for example has a domain (Tiktok.com). So, any request to that domain could be banned by ISPs. Additionally, ISPs could also try to ban specific URLs.

“So not everything within tiktok.com, but specific ones. For example, the Google Play Store listing for TikTok or UC browser. In the case of UC browser, it doesn’t actually host content – it’s a browser, but the government could ask ISPs to block the URL for UC browser within the Play Store,” Pranesh says.

By doing this, all the banned apps would become non-functional.

According to some experts, banning would also result in the already downloaded apps not receiving any more updates or support in India.

According to the paper by CIS, ISPs can also block access to websites by preventing clients from connecting to the specific IP addresses the website is hosted.

Information sent via the internet is sent in basic units called TCP packets. These contain information about what the data being sent is and contains the source IP, the destination IP.

Pranesh says that ISPs could also go one step further and be ordered by the government to block certain content distribution networks (CDNs) addresses used by companies like TikTok.

A content delivery network (CDN) is a group of servers geographically distributed, which work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content.

Websites are usually hosted by a virtual hosting service that uses a CDN to distribute the correct traffic to the correct destination. Banning the CDN will mean many websites using this CDN to direct traffic correctly to the appropriate site may also get banned.

“If a company is trying to mask its data, it is very difficult to block it in a way that it doesn’t affect lots of other companies as well because CDN provide services for thousands of companies and hence trying to block only one becomes very difficult,” Pranesh says.

In all the scenarios listed above, the result will be that the app on your phone will stop functioning. It might say server unavailable or that there is no network connection.

However, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or an anonymising network, people will be able to get around all of these blocks. This is because the data transmitted via VPNs are encrypted and can only be decrypted by the source where it originates from and the destination.

The List of all Banned Apps: 




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Post source : The News Minute

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