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TikTok to Store Data Locally in India After Being Banned Over Security Reasons, Reports Claim

New Delhi (Sputnik): In a “digital strike” against China, India has banned a total of 106 Chinese apps from operating in the country citing national security reasons. India took the stringent measure of banning Chinese apps after the two neighbours engaged in an intense face-off in the Ladakh region.

Short video making app TikTok, that had over 400 million users in India, made it on the list of Chinese apps been banned in India. While reiterating that it complied with all of India’s laws and requirements, the app has approached the Indian government about data localisation, the media reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The platform, under the ownership of China’s ByteDance has proposed to set up data centres to store Indian users’ data within the country.

The app was banned over various charges including “engaging in activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, and the defence of India, security of state and public order". Earlier this year, TikTok was also reportedly called out for tracing the locations of Indian users using a SIM-tapping method – which is illegal in India.

TikTok’s proposal to facilitate data localisation in India comes as a reply to a detailed questionnaire that the country’s federal IT Ministry sent to all the banned platforms seeking information about their security, data management, and collection practices.

Earlier this month, a special panel comprising of members from the Indian IT Ministry, Home Ministry, Lay Ministry, and the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to hear the representation of Chinese apps under Section 69A of the Indian IT Act that entitles the central government or its authorised officers to investigate and take measures against alleged cybercrimes in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India.

“We have submitted our response to the government and are working with them to provide clarifications to allay the concerns they have. Throughout the duration of our operations, we have demonstrated unequivocal commitment to complying with local laws, including data privacy and security requirements", reports quoted a TikTok spokesperson as saying.

The company has also proposed to set up an engineering centre in India that would work on global product and tech innovations with Indian techies.

It was recently reported that ByteDance is considering refreshing TikTok’s corporate functions and make it an individual unit with a new official headquarters away from Beijing.

The app, launched in 2017 outside of China, has never had a separate headquarters away from ByteDance, however, struck by India’s ban on its platform and US claims of following India in its decision, senior company executives are reportedly deliberating about moving away from China.

India is reportedly considering banning 273 more Chinese apps, which according to China's state-run media Global Times would be "very frustrating" to Chinese companies and investors. 

“The Indian government has the responsibility to protect the legitimate rights and interests of international investors in India, including Chinese businesses, in accordance with market principles. The Chinese side has lodged solemn representation to the Indian side and asked the Indian side to correct its wrongdoings", the media quoted Chinese Embassy spokesperson Ji Rong as saying on 28 July. 

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