India has reportedly set into motion a security law to force smartphone manufacturers to enable the removal of pre-installed apps on demand and screening of major OS updates reported Reuters.
The Indian government is considering this move due to concerns about spying and abuse of user data, said a source speaking to Reuters.
The source said pre-installed apps could be a “weak security point” that could be exploited by foreign nations “including China”.
The new rules will force smartphone vendors to enable users to uninstall pre-installed apps, which could come in the form of internet browsers, payment apps, and photo managers. Several of the world’s most popular vendors include pre-installed apps including Apple and Samsung.
The Bureau of Indian Standards will apparently check for compliance with this new law. Representatives of Xiaomi, Samsung, Apple and Vivo have been briefed about this new law by the government. They will be given a year to comply with the law although punishment has not been decided for rule breakers.
China and India had seen geopolitical tensions due to a border row in the Himalayan region. India ordered raids on the domestic offices of Chinese smartphone vendors Oppo and Vivo, claiming the companies evaded taxes. The government had also banned more than 300 Chinese apps including TikTok, and closely scrutinised investments made by Chinese firms reported Reuters.
The Indian smartphone market is dominated by Chinese players such as Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo, all three accounting for more than half of sales according to Counterpoint Research. Samsung holds a 20% share and Apple only 3%.