New Delhi: The Indian government has the responsibility to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of international investors, including Chinese companies, in accordance with market principles, said Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in India, reacting to the government’s deliberations to mandate screening of software updates and pre-installed apps in smartphones.
“The Chinese government always asks Chinese companies to observe international rules and local laws and regulations when doing business overseas,” Wenbin said in a statement.
ET reported on Tuesday that the government is working on new rules to screen OS updates along with giving customers the option to remove pre-installed apps found in smartphones.
The government plans to set up Bureau of Indian Standards-authorised labs to screen handsets and operating system updates, with the rule being implemented a year after it is notified officially.
ET reported the rules have been under work since late 2021 and is aimed at preventing smartphones from spying on citizens, especially on the backdrop of Sino-Indian tensions at the border.
Smartphone industry association, India Cellular and Electronics Association, which represents brands such as Xiaomi, Apple, and the likes, said the government is in deep consultation with the body and the industry to implement mobile security guidelines as per standards issued in 2021 by the BIS.
“MeitY is working closely with the industry to adopt suggested guidelines in line with this BIS Standard,” said Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman, ICEA.
He added that BIS has to come up with a testing procedure and the required infrastructure of labs along with their certifications.
“Industry and MeitY has agreed that we will have sufficient time for compliance for device manufacturers/brand owners till the lab infrastructure are in place to the satisfaction of the industry so that it should not affect ease of doing business in any which way,” he added.
The smartphone industry, however, is concerned that the new rules may extend the launch timelines when new handsets hit the market every six months.
Furthermore, the option to uninstall preloaded apps will dent the revenues of the smartphone companies, which rely on these apps to monetise and offset the production costs, sometimes being able to offer handsets at lower prices.