NEW DELHI: UC Web, the browser bascially owned by Chinese internet giant Alibaba, has come under the scrutiny of the government. As part of investigations against Chinese companies over some major data theft. If found guilty of stealing the data of Indian users, the company may be banned in the country. A top official in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said.
UC Browser claimed to have over nearly 100 million monthly active users in India as per recent report last year. While its user base is nearly 420 million globally . According to a recent Stat-Counter report, UC Browser is the second most used web browser in India usually at the end of June 2017 after Google Chrome. And also le ads mobile phone segment with approx 48.7% market share.“
“Complaints have been recently received against UC Browser that it sends mobile data of Indian users to some unknown servers in China. The matter is being closely looked into,” the official said, requesting anonymity.
Alibaba’s UCWeb Under Govt Scanner For Data Leak
The IT ministry official said that there were fears that data was still being stolen even when the app has been uninstalled by a user. “There are several complaints that even if a user has cleaned browsing data. The browser automatically retains control of DNS (domain name server) of user’s device,” the official added. UC Browser is officially a part of Alibaba’s mobile business group.
When contacted on the matter, a spokesperson for the company bascailly said that it’s takes security and privacy very seriously. Though also adding that “it is common practice for many IT companies to place many servers all around the globe to provide better service to its users. We will not do anything wrong to breach the trust of our users.”
The spokesperson, however, also defended the decision to collect user data by saying: “It is also basic standard industry practice to collect user information and entered data in necessary scenarios to provide users with localised services. We take necessary authorization from our users to collect this data. Our systems are strictly protected by an end-user licensing agreement which protect the interest of our users.”
“At UC Web, we take the security and privacy issues very seriously and work hard to comply with local regulations of each region that we operate in. We have some strong measures in place to encrypt the data while we transmit it,” the spokesperson said.
The matter was first highlighted through findings of University of Toronto. Now deeply being looked into by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad. It is also doing a technical investigation into the allegations made in the University of Toronto report. Which recently had claimed “several major privacy and security vulnerabilities that would seriously expose. The users of UC Browser to surveillance and also some other privacy violations”.
UC Browser is part of Alibaba’s mobile business group. Alibaba is one of the major investor in the payment bank firm Paytm and also its parent company One97. Besides Paytm, Alibaba has also invested in e-commerce firm Snapdeal as well.