India bans Xiaomi’s Mi Browser Pro, and QQ International app

India bans Xiaomi’s Mi Browser Pro, and QQ International app

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The Government of India recently had banned and blocked access to 59 apps with Chinese connections like TikTok, Xiaomi’s Mi Community, Mi Video Call, Xender, Shareit, Cam Scanner and even Weibo, citing that they are “prejudicial to [the] sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” This list was further expanded to include 47 more apps, and this list predominantly included functional clones of the previously banned apps. Now, the Government of India has banned some more apps, including Xiaomi’s Mi Browser Pro and the QQ International app.

According to a report by Times of India, the Government of India has decided to widen the action against apps with Chinese connections, and consequently, has decided to ban Xiaomi’s Mi Browser Pro, and the QQ International IM app. Consequently, these apps are no longer available for download to Indian users.

Unlike Mi Browser Pro, it is the stock Mi Browser that is preloaded on Xiaomi’s devices. The preloaded Mi Browser continues to work on Xiaomi devices, though it isn’t immediately clear if the move extends to the stock browser as well. If it does, Xiaomi will have to work to remove access to the browser from its devices. Such a move will consequently impact a very large percentage of users in the Indian smartphone market, although these users can always download a different browser through the Google Play Store.

Xiaomi India offered the following comment to the report:

Xiaomi continues to comply and adhere to all data privacy and security requirements under the Indian law. We are working towards understanding the development and will take appropriate measures as required. As part of the process, we will work with key stakeholders for an opportunity to make our submissions.

Xiaomi’s Mi Browser Pro was previously mired in its own controversy some months ago. Security researchers had accused the browser of collecting a wide variety of data related to web browsing, even when users browse in “incognito mode”. In response, Xiaomi did update the browser with an option to allow users to opt-out of tracking in incognito mode. India’s ban is likely to be unrelated to this erstwhile privacy issue, and more in response to other political developments in Asia.

Source: Times of India