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Modi Govt Bans 59 Chinese Apps In India: A Blow To China’s Digital Silk Route Ambitions?

Image for representation. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Image for representation. REUTERS/Amit Dave

The apps that now stand banned in India, across the Google Android ecosystem and the Apple iPhone as well as the iPad platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 29, 2020, 9:45 PM IST

The Ministry of Information Technology of the Government of India has banned as many as 59 apps in India. This has been done deriving powers under the section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 citing the concerns about the security, integrity and defense of India. The apps that now stand banned in India, across the Google Android ecosystem and the Apple iPhone as well as the iPad platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community.

This announcement comes at a time when tensions between India and China are at an all-time high, after the military skirmishes earlier this month. There have been suspicions that the apps developed and or owned by Chinese companies and developers collect user data from their phones without their permissions and transmit it back to the owners. Experts suggest that this could hit China’s Digital Silk Route ambitions in a big way. India has a large existing user base on these apps, and a fairly large potential user base waiting to sign up.

The banned apps include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community

“The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India. The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” says the Ministry of Electronics and IT in an official statement.

The Digital Silk Route is the technology equivalent of the BRI project, the Belt and Road Initiative which China has initiated to get an edge as a global technology and economic giant. The BRI attempts to connect Asia with Africa and Europe with land and maritime networks along six corridors, in an attempt to boost trade. China has also tied up with 16 other countries but has also been investing its own resources and creating a digital framework abroad. This includes optical cable lines, data hubs and other critical infrastructure projects which China needs to control the global digital discourse.

The Digital Silk Route is the technology equivalent of the BRI project, the Belt and Road Initiative which China has initiated to get an edge as a global technology and economic giant

This move could also have a cascading effect, as more countries could end up banning these apps in the coming days. There has been a global conversation over the past few months about the possible backdoors in Chinese company Huawei’s 5G mobile network infrastructure allowing the company or even the Chinese government to snoop in on user data. Many countries have either banned Huawei’s 5G network hardware altogether or are reluctant to use it.

This ban on popular Chinese-owned apps, including social networks such as TikTok, could have a longer-term impact on the company valuations as well, after a large chunk of their user base has been effectively shut out. At this time, it is not clear how long the ban will be in place but there are multiple recommendations in place on how to block these potentially malicious apps from being used on internet networks within India.

There has been a global conversation about the possible backdoors in Chinese company Huawei’s 5G mobile networks allowing the Chinese government to snoop in

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Categories
Tech

SpaceX Crew Dragon Launches for ISS, #LaunchAmerica En Route Historic Success

NASA and SpaceX's Demo-2 mission goes underway as the Crew Dragon, sitting atop the Falcon 9, launches into space right on schedule. (Image: SpaceX)

NASA and SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission goes underway as the Crew Dragon, sitting atop the Falcon 9, launches into space right on schedule. (Image: SpaceX)

After its initial launch got postponed on May 27, SpaceX managed to create history by being the first private company to launch humans to space, onboard the swanky Crew Dragon.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 31, 2020, 1:35 AM IST

NASA and SpaceX have pulled off a historic launch, with Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon taking off from Launch Pad 39a of NASA Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Crew Dragon has embarked on what is a near-24 hour journey that will take NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Center, after its May 27 launch was cancelled due to bad weather. The launch sequence was executed perfectly, with the Crew Dragon launching atop the Falcon 9 and heading into orbit.

SpaceX has also succeeded in retrieving the booster stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which separated from the rest of the rocket minutes into lift-off. The booster stage rocket then re-entered Earth and landed back on the SpaceX drone ship ‘Of Course I Still Love You’, all in a smooth sequence. The next sequence of the mission went smoothly as well, with the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket separating according to schedule, leaving Crew Dragon on its gradual trajectory to the ISS.

In the next course of events, Crew Dragon will now fire its engines in a series of sequences to bring it up to altitude with the ISS, and then begin its approach to the ISS. It will then cross over the Keep-Out Zone of the ISS and begin a slow, sequential approach to docking. Once it reaches the aligned axis, it will attempt to dock with the ISS at PMA-2 of the Station’s Harmony module. The entire process until docking will take close to 24 hours.

While this will conclude the first phase of the mission, Crew Dragon’s Demo-2 mission will also include bringing Behnken and Hurley back to Earth, which can be anytime between one and four months. On its way back, Crew Dragon will lose its ‘trunk’ in a bid to offload some weight, before re-entering Earth and splashing back on the sea. On this occasion, SpaceX’s Go Navigator search and rescue ship will be on hand to retrieve the astronauts and bring them back to ground station.

Follow this space for further updates about Crew Dragon’s journey to the ISS, and its eventual docking sequence.




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