The government of India has banned the 59 Chinese apps because of rising border tensions between both of them. The apps include many popular apps like; Share-it, UC Browser, Tik-Tok, Cam-Scanner, etc. According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the ban on these apps is necessary to safeguard the sovereignty and integrity of India. And the ministry also stated that the government was receiving multiple complaints about these apps. According to the complaints, theses apps were used to steal the personal data of users without their permission and to transfer it to outside India. The government bans these apps in the exercise of power under Section 69-A of the “Information Technology Act, 2000”.
What is Section 69-A of the “Information Technology Act, 2000” https://indiankanoon.org/doc/10190353/
In 2008, the legislature insert the Section 69-A under Information Technology Act, 2000. Under this section, the government has the power to block public access to certain information from the website or mobile. But the Government can exercise this power if it affects the sovereignty, integrity, and friendly relationship of our country with foreign countries and public order.
Every department of government shall have a nodal officer to receive the complaints against the websites that held offensive things. Once the nodal officer sees merits in the complaint will transfer it to the designated officer. And, then the designated officer constitutes a committee to examine the complainant. The committee shall consist of representatives from the ministry of law and justice, home affairs, information and broadcasting, and The Indian computer emergency response team. After hearing the designated officer can issue the order of blocking the information. But, only after receiving approval from the secretary of the information technology department.
Section 69-A also makes the provision in case of emergency. In such a situation the nodal officer can himself examine the complaint. And, after examination of the complaint shall submit to the secretary. And the Secretary can pass the interim order to block the website. But within 48 hours of the order, the designated officer shall submit the report to the committee. And the website shall be given 48 hours to appear and prepare to hear. Then the report to be submitted to the IT Secretary who has a final say on the matter. This section also has the provisions of review. The committee reviews the decision in 2 months from the blocking of the website. And, this ban is an interim order.
Constitutionality of Section 69-A
The court in the case of Shreya Singhal Vs UOI in 2015 held the constitutional validity of this section.
NEED FOR A DATA PROTECTION LAW
India is having the Information Technology Act, 2000 amended in 2008. This deals with the digital space. But this act is inadequate to deal with modern technological problems. It doesn’t protect the data information. And also doesn’t secure the data privacy of individuals and the government. Today India has a personal Data Protection Bill, 2009, which is yet have not been passed by the parliament. So, in the revolutionary period of technology, data privacy and security is a major challenge before India. The parliament must pass the Bill as soon as possible to curb this emerging evil in the era of technology.
BENEFITS OF BAN
1) Now India is no longer a victim of China’s nibble and negotiates policy.
2) No longer rely on passive diplomacy.
3) This will hurt China’s ambition to become a superpower in the 21st century.
4) Recognized the importance of data and give a message that data privacy is now a new currency of global power.