Indian government wants Apple to boot TikTok out of the App Store

Indian government wants Apple to boot TikTok out of the App Store

Google and Apple have blocked access to the video app, TikTok, after the Madras High Court directed the Centre to ban the application's download over concerns regarding pornographic content. The country's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has reportedly asked Apple and Google to remove the app from their respective app stores. It was then that TikTok added a kids mode to the app which only allowed users to view and record content.

The court also appointed Advocate Arvind Datar as independent counsel in this case. The case is up for hearing in the Madras High Court, after which the SC will decide on its fate on 22nd April.

ByteDance (India) Technology Private Limited, which owns the mobile application, had filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court last week against the lower court's April 3 order.

Also, in the absence of the app from legitimate and trusted sources, users may turn to web based third-party stores, which can be more risky as they do not verify apps for hidden malicious content as Google and Apple do. This was a 12 time increase since January of the same year. And while new iOS users might be left in the lurch, Android users will simply be able to download the app from unauthorised sources, which would, among other things, only serve to exacerbate the problems of hacking and phishing and other cybersecurity issues.

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The high court's interim order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) which alleged that the app encouraged paedophiles and the content "degraded culture and encouraged pornography". TikTok now has over 120 million monthly active users in India. They have also claimed that banning or restricting TikTok is a direct attack on the fundamental rights of them, and the users of the app.

TikTok said in a statement that it had faith in the Indian judicial system and was "optimistic about an outcome that would be well received by millions" of its users.

The bench said the high court is already seized of the matter and the ban order was just an interim order.

In its plea to the SC, TikTok had argued that it is an intermediary as defined under Section 79 of the country's Information Technology Act, and it can not be held liable for actions of third parties on the platform.

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