PUBG Mobile craze refuses to die in India despite its ban and some are actually downloading and playing the game that are foreign versions including Korea (KR). Now, questions have been raised about whether PUBG Mobile KR organisers or intermediaries and players in India will be slapped a penalty for defying ban? First, a bit of background – the popular PUBG Mobile India game was banned along with other Chinese apps in the country in September.
The government has cited security concerns while banning these apps. The Indian government banned the PUBG Mobile India game under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act as the app has been engaging in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity, defence and security of India. However despite all restrictions, PUBG Mobile continues to be one of the most popular games in India and PUBG Mobile global versions saw huge downloads in the country.
So, what does this mean for the Indian gaming community? Will the PUBG Mobile KR gamers or organisers (intermediaries) face the prospect of a big fine being imposed on them?
Explaining the rationale behind it, BGR.in said, “Many have been breaking the law and playing the Korean or global versions of the game, using a virtual private network (VPN) service. Though many of them will not be caught, as a VPN service masks your IP and masks the incoming data packets with an encryption layer. However, many streamers tournament organizers and esports organizations can face penalties as they have been putting out content for the banned game.”
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Adeeb Sayeed a blogger recently sent out letters of warnings to such content creators trying to warn them of the consequences they may face from the authorities for the same, reported the tech website.
To which, the creators asked for a “text from the government, explicitly saying that the PUBG Mobile KR (Korean) version of the game is banned.”
What they do not seem to understand is that PUBG Mobile KR has cross-play functionality, which means that it accesses the PUBG Mobile Global server, which is blocked by the government, said the report. And using a VPN service to bypass the ban and access any such content is against the law, it added.
An RTI filed by Prasoon Shekhar, a law student, also sought to know about the ‘provision of law if somebody disobeys the ban imposed on Chinese apps like CamScanner, PUBG Mobile and more.’
To this MeitY replied by stating “MeitY does not ban any App. However, blocking of specified Apps was done under the provisions of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and its Rules namely Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking Access of Information by the Public) Rules, 2009. Section 69A of the Act provides for a penalty to intermediaries for non-compliance of the blocking order. However, no penalty is prescribed for individual users of such Apps.”
BGR.in says it means that if an individual user is accessing the application in a private environment, they will not be prosecuted but importantly, they are still disobeying the imposed ban. Whereas, people and groups (intermediaries) who are publicising the content are disobeying the imposed ban, and are motivating others to do the same, due to which they can be prosecuted and penalized.