It has been over 5 months since the government of India decided to block access to PUBG Mobile in the country. In early September, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) decided to block access to the app, stating that it posed a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the country. Since then the PUBG Corp. has done a lot to bring the game back to its adoring fans. To this end, GemWire decided to file an RTI asking the MEITY questions about the blockage of PUBG Mobile in India. The content of The RTI filed are as follows:
What Does The GemWire RTI Mean For PUBG Mobile’s Return?
Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, was introduced by an amendment to the Act in 2008. It gives the Central government the power to block public access to any information online on both websites and/or mobile apps. Under Section 69A, if a website threatens India’s defence, its sovereignty and integrity, friendly relations with foreign countries and public order, the government can ban it through a bureaucratic procedure. Apart from this, a court may also issue directions for blocking information online. The Department of Telecommunications, too, can issue blocking orders to internet service providers, to enforce licensing conditions.
From the responses in the GemWire RTI, it is clear that the ban or blocking of access only applies specifically to apps mentioned in the list i.e PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik (a.k.a Global Version) and PUBG MOBILE LITE and not towards other versions of PUBG Mobile including the Korean version of PUBG Mobile or the PUBG entity as a whole.
Another point of clarification is that there has been no formal communication between MEITY and PUBG Corporation/KRAFTON as previously suspected. While PUBG Corp. has said in the past that they were in touch with the authorities, perhaps it refers to government officials in other departments and not specifically with the MEITY.
From the responses that GemWire has got, it can be concluded that if a new application is to be launched, it wouldn't be subjected to the same blockage that the global version faced. However, KRAFTON has taken notice and overhauled PUBG Mobile India.