Alibaba’s UC Browser has come under the government’s scanner for the alleged leak of mobile data of its Indian users and may be banned in the country if found guilty, a senior IT ministry official said. “There have been complaints against UC Browser that it sends mobile data of its users in India to a server in China. There are complaints that even if a user has uninstalled it or cleaned browsing data, the browser retains control of DNS of user’s device,” the officer who did not wish to be named told PTI. Also Read - Jack Ma's Alibaba fined record $2.7B by ChinaAlso Read - Ant Group ordered by China to reexamine its fintech businesses and return to its roots as a payments service
The officer said if the allegations against the browser are established then it may be banned in the country. Email sent to UC Web, which operates UC Browser, did not elicit any response. UC Browser is part of Alibaba’s mobile business group. Alibaba has made significant investments in the payment bank firm Paytm and its parent company One97. Besides Paytm, Alibaba has invested in e-commerce firm Snapdeal as well.
UC Browser has last year claimed that it has over 100 million monthly active users in India and Indonesia. As per Stat-Counter report at the end of June 2017, UC Browser is a second most used web browser in India after Google’s Chrome and leads mobile phone segment with 48.66 percent market share. The probe by the government comes amid escalating tension between India and China.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT actively looking at findings of the University of Toronto which has allegedly discovered “several major privacy and security vulnerabilities that would seriously expose users of UC Browser to surveillance and other privacy violations”.
The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad is doing a technical investigation into the allegation made in University of Toronto report, which also mentioned that the browser is mostly used in India and China.