Google on Thursday said it has temporarily blocked access to those apps that were still available on the Play Store in India even after the government banned 59 apps this week. "While we continue to review the interim orders from the Government of India, we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India," a Google spokesperson said.
However, the spokesperson did not disclose details of the apps that Google had blocked. According to sources, developers of many of the 59 banned apps had taken down their apps from Google Play Store voluntarily.
India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including TikTok, UC Browser, SHAREit and WeChat, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.
Meanwhile, the Centre had given the banned 59 apps with Chinese links 48 hours to provide clarifications on key issues. The representatives from the company have been given time to appear before a government-constituted committee within the time to prove that the data of Indian users is not being sent to servers in China, various media reported citing official sources.
Soon after TikTok was taken down from the app stores in India on Tuesday, the company had stated that it was invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications.
The government has already asked Google and Apple to remove the apps from their stores for users in India, and will issue similar instructions to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone, sources said. On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said “China was strongly concerned" by the app ban.
(With PTI inputs)