Battlegrounds Mobile India: Game APK reportedly sharing data with China servers, calls for ban intensify

After Battlegrounds Mobile India was opened to beta testers on 17 June, Krafton announced last Friday that the mobile game had been downloaded over five million times in its early access phase. However, with excitement for the game rising on one hand, calls to ban the game in India have also intensified. Amid all this, a new report says the game has allegedly been sharing and receiving data of Android users with China servers.

A report by IGN India alleges the game is sending and receiving data from "China Mobile Communications Corporation — a Chinese state-owned company — and the server is located in Beijing, China." China Mobile Communications Corporation is a Tencent-run Proxima Beta in Hong Kong. Battlegrounds Mobile India was reportedly also found sending data to Microsoft Azure servers in US, Mumbai and Moscow.

tech2 reached out to South Korean video game developer Krafton (which owns Battlegrounds Mobile India), and the company declined to comment on the matter.

This comes after PUBG Mobile India was banned in the country in August 2020 for 'stealing and transmitting users' data to servers outside India'. In September last year, PUBG Corporation said it would no longer authorize PUBG Mobile franchise to Tencent Games in India. In May 2021, Krafton announced the reveal of Battlegrounds Mobile India, which is essentially PUBG Mobile in a new avatar.

At the time of the announcement, Krafton said it is working with partners "to ensure data protection and security, at each stage. This will ensure privacy rights are respected, and all data collection and storage will be in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in India and for players here."

As per Battlegrounds Mobile India terms of service, personal information of players would be stored and processed on servers in India and Singapore. However, it also says it may “transfer your data to other countries” in order to meet “legal requirements”.

Ahead of the game's official release, calls to ban Battlegrounds Mobile India have grown louder. In May, Arunachal Pradesh MLA Ninong Ering wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a request to ban the game. Ering shared the letter in a tweet he posted on Saturday. The game is a "Chinese deception" and is a "big threat to security of India and privacy of our citizens", he wrote in the letter. The MLA says the launch of Battlegrounds Mobile India is "a way to circumvent and disregard our laws".

A few other Indian politicians have also demanded a ban on the game.

On 18 June, the Confederation of All Indian Traders also wrote a letter to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad urging a ban on Battlegrounds Mobile India.

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