According to the new guidelines, the government should provide the uninstall option for the pre-installed apps to the smartphone manufacturers.
There is a report that the central government is preparing to control the pre-installed apps on the phone. The Center is preparing to introduce security rules such as removing pre-installed apps, subjecting all major operating system updates to testing, Reuters reports.
These suggestions may backfire for India, the world’s second largest smartphone market. This will delay the release of new smartphones that are about to be launched. Smartphone companies including Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Apple can also affect the extra income they get through such preinstalled apps.
Amidst the concerns of eavesdropping and theft of user’s personal data, the IT Ministry is bringing a new law. “Preinstalled apps are a security area of concern. Countries including China must ensure that they are not spying through this, it is a matter of national security,” said a senior government official.
The Center is taking strict measures against Chinese apps and online services and institutions. More than 300 Chinese apps including Tiktok have already been banned in the country. Globally too, restrictions are being imposed on Chinese tech products in a big way.
At present, such types of apps which cannot be uninstalled come preinstalled in the phones. For example, Xiaomi’s App Store or GetApps, Samsung’s payment app Pay Mini, Apple browser or Safari are pre-installed on the phone. According to the new law, companies will have to provide the facility to uninstall all the pre-installed apps on smartphones. Apart from this, all new smartphone models will also be tested by an agency authorized by the Bureau of Indian Standards Agency.
Operating system updates will also be tested before they are made available to users. Most smartphones released in India will have preinstalled apps, which can also lead to security issues, reports Reuters.
The center has given one year’s time to smart phone manufacturers to implement the new law, it says in the document.
IT ministry or smartphone companies have not responded about the new move. Chinese phones such as Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo phones account for half of the smartphone market. While South Korea’s Samsung holds a 20 percent share, Apple’s market share is three percent.
European Union regulations also provide translation to remove preinstalled apps. But there is no screening mechanism like in India. Whether some of the preinstalled apps, such as camera, are important and should be avoided or otherwise, the Center should decide before the rules come into force, said an employee.
Another employee said that if more time is allotted for the inspection, then there is a possibility of extending the deadline. Currently, it takes 21 weeks for a government agency to verify a smartphone and its parts. This may affect the speed of the smartphone market.
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