New Delhi: TikTok India Tuesday said it placed the highest importance on user privacy and integrity, and clarified the company had not shared any user information with the Chinese government.
The company issued a statement in response to the Indian government banning TikTok and 58 other Chinese mobile apps Monday for being “prejudicial” to national security.
Several reports had accused TikTok of spying on users in India and across the world. The app was allegedly recording what users were typing on their phones.
The statement issued by Nikhil Gandhi, head of TikTok India, stated: “TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government. Further if we are requested in the future, we wouldn’t do so.”
— TikTok India (@TikTok_IN) June 30, 2020
The statement also noted that the government had invited the company to respond and submit clarifications regarding the same.
Gandhi added that the Chinese video-sharing app has “democratised the internet” by making it available in 14 Indian languages with millions of users.
App ban over security concerns
Fifty nine Chinese apps were banned by the Modi government Monday night for being prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and national security of the country.
In the official statement, the Information Technology Ministry said that it had received several complaints from various sources about the misuse of mobile apps on Android and iOS platforms over stealing and transmitting users’ data to servers with locations outside India.
“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the ministry statement read.
As of Tuesday morning, TikTok has been taken down from the Apple App store and the Google Play store in India. Users who had downloaded the app before the ban was imposed are still be able to use it though.
This isn’t the first time that the video sharing app has been banned by India. Last year, the app was blocked for a few days for promoting pornographic content and over privacy concerns.