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TikTok confirms no plans to pursue legal action against ban

Banned short-video platform, TikTok, today confirmed that it has no plans to pursue legal action against the Government of India (GOI), as has been reported by some media outlets.

“There have been statements in the press concerning the possibility that TikTok might pursue legal action regarding the directive by the Government of India. We have no plans to pursue such action,” a spokesperson from the company said. “We are committed to working with the government to address its concerns. We comply with the laws and regulations of the Government of India. Ensuring the data sovereignty, security and privacy of our users has always been and will continue to be a top priority for us.”

After the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps to send a strong message regarding the recent border skirmish, the apps themselves are contemplating formally representing their concerns to the Centre before any legal recourse.

According to two people familiar with the matter, a number of the currently banned Chinese app companies like ByteDance, UC Web, Moonton and Weibo among others said that writ petitions to the government are their last resort, if ban is not lifted after representations.

“First they want to clarify the data security concerns to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity). Some representations have already been made. Writ will be the last resort if nothing else works” said the first of the two people cited above.

A panel under Meity is currently hearing the representations.

“The basic two questions being raised by Meity are firstly the requirement of sharing user data with Chinese government. How many times such requests were raised and how many times were they complied with. Second lack of physical presence in India,” he added.

A third lawyer, who represents multiple apps in the banned list, said that since the companies do not have any intimation of what issues the government has found right now, they are considering sharing data flow diagrams, which tell the government who the benefactors for data they collect are. They may even submit to audits by companies empaneled by Cert-In. “The burden of proof has been passed onto the companies. They have to prove that they haven’t done anything wrong, as opposed to the usual, where the government has to prove that there has been wrongdoing,” the lawyer said.

Legislation in China requires companies originating in China to share user data, collected from across the world if requested by Chinese government or intelligence agenciesThe govt banned 59 Chinese mobile applications, including top social media platforms such as TikTok, Helo and WeChat, to counter the threat posed by these applications to the country’s “sovereignty and security,” it said in a press release late on Monday.-Livemint

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