The Indian government has taken a major step in cracking down on malicious mobile apps that are causing harm to citizens. In a recent announcement, the Central government has initiated the process of banning 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps with Chinese links. This move comes after several complaints of extortion and harassment from people who availed small amounts of loans through these apps.
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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) took this decision based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The MHA found that these apps attracted Section 69 of the IT Act, which states that any material prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India is prohibited. Further analysis of these apps revealed that they were run by Chinese nationals who hired Indians and made them directors in the operation.
Desperate individuals were lured into taking on a loan and were then charged with exorbitant interest rates of up to 3,000 percent annually. When the debtors were unable to repay the loans, representatives of these apps started harassing them with lewd messages, threatening to release their morphed photos and shaming them with messages to their contacts. The matter came to light after a spate of suicides, particularly in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, by those who took these loans or lost money to betting apps.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) also issued an advisory, stating that since betting and gambling are illegal in most parts of India, advertisements of these betting platforms and their surrogates are also illegal under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, Cable TV Network Regulation Act 1995 and the IT Rules, 2021.
The Indian government’s move to ban these malicious apps is commendable and will go a long way in ensuring the safety and security of citizens. This step will also curb the activities of Chinese entities and individuals who were exploiting the Indian market for their personal gain. It is crucial that the government continues to monitor and regulate such activities to ensure a safe and secure digital environment for all.
The ban on 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps with Chinese links is a major step in the right direction and will provide relief to millions of citizens who have fallen victim to these malicious entities. The government must continue to monitor and regulate such activities to ensure the safety and security of citizens in the digital space.