No Security Testing on Pre-Installed Mobile Apps; Union Minister Denies Crackdown on Bloatware

The Indian government is not planning to conduct any security tests on software updates for the removal of bloatware as a recent report suggested.

  1. A recent report claimed that the Indian government might introduce a new security test for software updates.
  2. Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has denied any such testing.
  3. The minister said that the reports around crackdown of software updates are plain wrong.

Pre-installed apps became a topic of discussion on the Internet after a recent report claimed that the government might make it mandatory for OEMs to give users the option of uninstalling unwanted applications. A Reuters report recently claimed that the Indian government is working on a mandate under the upcoming data security rules that allow users to uninstall several unwanted apps that come pre-installed in several Android smartphones. The mandate also proposed the removal of first-party apps and services, according to the report. A day after the controversy sparked online, a senior government official has not stated that the report is false and baseless. 

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State at the Ministry of Electronics & IT, said that the report is plain wrong. The union minister further said that there is no “security testing” or “crackdown” as the story suggests. 

Government Denies Any Security Test for Software Updates in India

The Indian government is not planning to conduct any security tests on software updates for the removal of bloatware as a recent report suggested. Press Information Bureau, the nodal agency of the Government of India to disseminate information to media on government policies, programmes, initiatives, etc., stated that the report by Reuters suggesting the government’s crackdown on pre-installed apps is misleading.

Further, Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar added that the Reuters story is based on lack of understanding. The minister further added that the report has misinterpreted the ongoing consultation on mobile security guidelines of BIS Standard IS17737 (Part-3) 2021. 

Chandrasekhar added that the Ministry of Information and Technology under the Government of India is committed to a 100 per cent focus on ease of doing business and boosting local manufacturing of electronics. The government aims to achieve $300 billion worth of electronics manufacturing by 2025-2026, he added.

The Reuters report claimed that the government had closed-door meetings with several major smartphone players, including the likes of Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi. Citing two government officials and a document sharing details of the proposed mandate, the report cited pre-installed apps as a weak security point for consumers in India.

According to the report, the government reportedly also gave companies a year to comply once the rule came into effect. Now that the minister has denied any such mandate, it means that there is no crackdown on pre-installed apps in India. Users, however, can choose to uninstall some of the apps installed in various smartphones, especially budget and mid-range Android phones. What are your thoughts on the denied report though? Do you think there needs to be some mandate for removing bloatware apps on phones? Let us know in the comments below.