The Indian government has drawn up a detailed questionnaire for the publishers of the 59 Chinese apps that were banned in the country last month. The list of 77 questions reportedly include queries about their data security policies, as well as the content they serve to their users in India. According to Reuters, the publishers have been asked whether they censor content or work on behalf of foreign governments. They’ll also have to reveal whether they lobby influencers to promote their products and services.
India’s Information Technology Ministry has given the companies three weeks to respond to the queries. There’s no word, however, on whether the ban on some of these apps could be lifted based on their answers. The 59 banned apps include the likes of TikTok, UC Browser, ShareIt, ES File Explorer, SHEIN, and more.
The report suggests that the government is concerned about censorship of news by the Chinese government. One of the questions is apparently about whether the app censored any content related to the Pulwama Attack of 2019. The government is apparently also seeking answers on whether these companies are in communication with movie stars, journalists and other celebrities in the country to promote any of their products or services.
Other queries were around advertisers, business structures, taxation practices and privacy policies, said the report. Finally, the government also wants to know whether they’ve faced investigations in the US, Europe or elsewhere for data-harvesting. The questionnaire has been send to the publishers of all 59 apps.
TikTok responded to Reuters’ request for a comment, saying that it was working on its response to the ministry’s queries. It also claimed that its service complies with all Indian laws and reiterated that data privacy is its top priority.