BGMI Was Reportedly Banned For Communicating With Chinese Servers
On 28th July, Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) players across the country were shocked to see the game get removed from Google Playstore and the Apple App Store. Since then, the community has been learning more about the ban every day with new information surfacing ever so frequently. The popular Battle Royale game was reportedly banned following a report by a central intelligence agency and a letter from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) regarding the potential cyber threats posed by BGMI to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). The official order banning BGMI is yet to come but the MeitY has already taken precautionary action based on the advice of the MHA.
BGMI ban: What did the report unearth?
According to , the report from the central intelligence agency detailed the violations that could create cyber threats by “harvesting user data for profiling to carry out targeted cyber-attacks on Indian users.”
The publication also quoted a senior Indian government official who revealed that the BGMI app had several issues and most importantly it was found to have been “communicating with servers directly or indirectly located in China.” Additionally, other apps which were rebranded, were also found communicating with Chinese servers and are under the scanner. Notably, the Indian Government’s move to ask Google and Apple to remove the application was reportedly undertaken only after multiple rounds of analysis and scrutiny.
The senior government officials who were involved in the analysis of these “rebranded” applications revealed that they have simply been rebranded in India without any server in the country and drew comparisons to old wine in new bottles. “They collect data that can be misused like location, audio, and access to other critical information. BGMI is also a rebranded version of PUBG," a senior official informed News18.
Did BGMI compromise user data?
The analysis also reportedly showed that BGMI had “malicious code” and that it acquired an array of critical permissions which could potentially be misused since users allow the app to use the device's camera, and microphone and also allow it to track their location.
Krafton, the publisher of BGMI, issued on the BGMI ban on 30th July. It stated, “At KRAFTON, Inc. the security and privacy of our user data is of utmost importance to us. We have always been compliant with all laws and regulations in India including data protection laws and regulations and will continue abiding by them.” The company has promised to update its player base with more information and it will reportedly represent its case. The final decision on the state of BGMI will be decided after Krafton makes its case to the Government of India.
The News18 report also revealed that Google received an official order from the government to remove the game and that it acted accordingly.
The Indian government has had a strict eye on the Chinese applications and analyzes them regularly to monitor user safety and privacy. The applications that allegedly violated the rules and regulations of the Indian government have been banned. Currently, as many as 324 applications with “Chinese origins”, including Tik Tok, Shein, PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds), have all been banned.