There are ways around the TikTok ban— while PUBG may be banned via another list from the Indian government
- The government of India banned 59 Chinese apps yesterday, June 29, but viewing a website is not an offense by itself in India.
- Proxy serves and people who have already installed Chinese apps on their phones may not be affected by the Indian government’s ban.
- Gateway House director Blaise Fernandes feels that there’s likely to be a second list on the way. Gateway House director Blaise Fernandes feels that there’s likely to be a second list on the way.
For instance, many users already have apps installed on their phones. So while removal from the Play Store may not let new users install these apps — those who already have them, won’t be affected. What it will affect is the apps’ ability to grow in India.
“Users who have already downloaded these apps may see a message citing the Government’s order as the reason to restrict the user’s access. However, similar banning orders have been passed by the Government in the past as well, and have often been a challenge to implement practically, since users may be able to view such sites through proxy servers and domains,” Tanu Banerjee, a partner at Induslaw told Business Insider.
Loopholes in banning Chinese apps
“It’s unclear how this will be enforced. ISP ban or removal from the Play Store is an option but both will come with some sort of loophole,” Counterpoint analyst Tarun Pathak told Business Insider.
However, Pathak doesn’t discount the anti-China sentiment in the country. “Users will start proactively deleting apps and posting screenshots on social media,” he said.
If the government does go so far that to block the app’s internet service provider (ISP), users can use a proxy server to get around the restriction. A proxy server would allow them to login with an IP that wasn’t based in India in order to operate the app. This is something that many used to install and use Spotify before the music streaming service officially launched in India.
"Viewing a website is not an offense by itself in India, unless there is a circumvention of any technological protection measures for infringement of copyright. In the context of this ban, we will have to wait to see if the Government issues any further instructions or warnings for users," said Banerjee.
There may be another list on the way
Mumbai-based thinktank Gateway House director Blaise Fernandes feels that another list could be on the way since some names like popular multiplayer game Tencent’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds are missing from the first list. “Our assessment is that there will be a second round of Chinese Apps that will be on the banned list. PUBG will be on that list,” he told Business Insider.
Pathak estimates that at least one in three smartphone users will be affected by India’s ban on Chinese apps. He added since a lot of these apps, especially ones like UC Browser, UC News, and ShareIT come pre-installed on some of the leading smartphones in the market, this will change how new and upcoming devices will be launched.
For Xiaomi, even though the company likely would not have wanted to be on the list in the first place — the ban on its apps will have very little impact on revenue, according to Pathak.
Will the ban be permanent?
Earlier this year, TikTok was banned in India on the order of the Madras High Court but soon returned to Google Play Store’s shelves within a span of a few days.
“We need to see if some of these apps are reallowed to do business if they comply with the Indian government’s order,”said Pathak. TikTok is already in the process with complying with the government’s order on the blocking of the app and asserted that it has not shared information of Indian users with any foreign government, including that of China. It will be meeting with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarificitions.
TikTok, ShareIt, UC Browser, Club Factory among 59 Chinese apps banned by the Indian government
TikTok disappears from Play Store and App Store soon after India banned 59 Chinese apps
All eyes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address at 4 PM today