According to a report by IGN India, Battlegrounds Mobile India sends and receives data with servers from China Mobile Communications in Beijing and pings Tencent’s servers in the Chinese capital. The company was also found to be sending the data to Tencent, which operates Proxima Beta in Hong Kong and Microsoft Azure servers in the United States, Mumbai, and Moscow.
Battlegrounds Mobile India, which was supposed to be a re-run of its Chinese connections, reportedly shares user data from Indian players with Tencent servers in China.
This comes after in August 2020, PUBG Mobile India was banned from stealing user data and transferring it to servers outside the country.
If the reports prove to be true, the game could be banned again in India. When Battlegrounds was first announced, the developers assured that the game servers would be based in Singapore and India and the game privacy policies stated that the game would transfer user data to other countries in order to operate the game service within the legal limits.
They shared their reports, adding that the game was pinged by Tencent’s remote servers in China when it was launched on the device. The researchers also experimented with an Android application called Sniffer, which produces and tracks server communications and produces logs, in particular logs that tend to come from servers that run in China for mobile communications. IGN India investigated further by sending and installing a data packet sniffing app on its Android phone.
This comes as a surprise, as the game developer had promised to cut ties with China to make a comeback in the Indian market. Krafton had promised that the data of Indian players would be a top priority and that this was the primary concern that led to the ban in the country. In order to make a comeback in India, Krafton has also announced that it is severing its ties with Tencent from publishing in India.
After IGN India reported first that Battlegrounds Mobile India was exchanging data with China Communications Corporation, a state-owned conglomerate, the Chairman of the parliamentary committee on India’s privacy law and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi asked the Ministry of Electronic Information and Technology (Meity) on Twitter to investigate the problem. A scan of our server logs, which match the game files in this story, shows traces of China servers.
The Indian version of the game is probably the most hyped game released in 2021 in India. The pre-registration started on Google Play a couple of weeks ago and made headlines as over 20 million people pre-registered for it. Battlegrounds Mobile India released a beta version of the game last week on Google Play and has already received over 5 million downloads in India. Note that early beta access is only available for Android devices and cannot be accessed on iPhone or iPad.