India’s Ministry banned BGMI under Section 69A of Information & Technology Act

Ashwini Vaishnav, Minister of Electronics, Information & Technology, Government of India

Battlegrounds Mobile India, the largest competitive mobile game in India, has been officially delisted from widely used Google Play Store and Apple App Store. As per new reports, the Indian government has banned BGMI by invoking Section 69A of the IT Act.

A similar action was taken against PUBG Mobile before the game was banned in India where data protection and privacy were seen as subjects of concern. Google & Krafton yesterday released their statements on our news story.

According to Reuters, Indian Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) issued orders under Section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 to take down BGMI.

TalkEsport, just last evening had reported that the influence of China over PUBG Mobile & BGMI combined could be the reason of the recent ban which saw millions of gamers dissappointed.

What is Section 69 (A) IT Act in India?

  • It confers on the Central and State governments the power to issue directions “to intercept, monitor or decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource”.
  • The grounds on which these powers may be exercised are:
    • In the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state.
    • Friendly relations with foreign states.
    • Public order, or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to these.
    • For investigating any offence.

The law reads:

69A. Power to issue directions for blocking for public access of any information through any computer resource

(1) Where the Central Government or any of its officer specially authorised by it in this behalf is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do, in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above, it may subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), for reasons to be recorded in writing, by order, direct any agency of the Government or intermediary to block for access by the public or cause to be blocked for access by the public any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource.

(2) The procedure and safeguards subject to which such blocking for access by the public may be carried out; shall be such as may be prescribed.

(3) The intermediary who fails to comply with the direction issued under sub-section (1) shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven year and also be liable to fine.

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A Google spokesperson responded on this matter, as per the News18 report. The statement is as follows:

“On receipt of the order, following the established process, we have notified the affected developer and have blocked access to the app that remained available on the Play Store in India.”

– Google

This statement indicates that the developers, Krafton in this case, were intimated about this ban but the statement made by Krafton suggests that they will be discussing this issue with the respective officials. Their statement is as follows:

“We are clarifying how BGMI was removed from Google Play store and the App store and will let you know once we get specific information.”

– Krafton

As per our sources, the Krafton officials will be hosting a meeting with Ministry of Electronics, Information & Technology and several other government officials regarding this ban order.

The invoking of Section 69A is in line with our report and contrary to some stories of esports organizations, calling this ban a ‘rumour’. It is pertinent to note that there were several NGOs in India who had in the past, requested the government to put a ban on Battlegrounds Mobile India.

As per our sources in the Government, the ban will last longer than expected by the community. And that’ll be bad news for everyone! 🙁