IGN India report: PUBG Mobile India avatar Battlegrounds Mobile sending data to servers in China

According to an IGN India report, which cites several Battlegrounds Mobile India players who claim independent verification, Battlegrounds Mobile India contradicts what Krafton stated last year when it announced PUBG Mobile India and again last week when it released Battlegrounds Mobile for Android users in India. The folks at IGN India used a data packet sniffer app prior to playing a match on Battlegrounds Mobile India, only to discover later that the game is exchanging data with servers in China and other countries.

Krafton’s worst nightmare regarding its PUBG Mobile India avatar, Battlegrounds Mobile India, may have come true. And there is no one else to blame but Krafton for this. Battlegrounds Mobile India is allegedly transferring data from Indian Android players to servers in China, including one owned by Tencent, the publisher of PUBG Mobile. China Mobile Communications emerged as one of the most frequently used servers by Battlegrounds Mobile India. Additionally, the PUBG Mobile India version is said to relay data between servers in Hong Kong, Moscow, the United States, and Mumbai.

Credits: India Today Tech

Battlegrounds Mobile India’s IP addresses appear in the logs of the packer sniffer app because Battlegrounds Mobile India established multiple connections to those IP addresses for various purposes. IGN India discovered via a whois search (a search engine used to determine the origin of an IP address) that Battlegrounds Mobile was primarily using one prominent IP address that belonged to Chinese state-owned telecom operator China Mobile Communications Corporation. According to the report, the server is located in Beijing. Additionally, it revealed the startling fact that the game was sending data to the device. There are screenshots to support this claim, and it appears as though Krafton made a serious error here.

Not only did the state-owned telecom company establish connections with Tencent servers, Battlegrounds Mobile India did as well. There was a ping server, a server connected to Tencent’s Qcloud cloud platform, and a Tencent anti-cheat server that PUBG Mobile uses to combat cheaters in the game. The whois log entries indicate that Battlegrounds Mobile is sending data to China, but it is unclear whether it is storing it for some purpose. Apart from China, the game communicates with servers in the United States, Russia, and Tencent’s Hong Kong-based Proxima Beta. All of this is in direct contradiction to what Krafton promised.

Battlegrounds Mobile connects to Microsoft Azure data centres in Mumbai. Krafton stated last year that it would store and process data from Indian players on servers in India and Singapore, but the privacy policy also states that data may be transferred “to other countries” to comply with “legal requirements.” If this newly discovered information results in legal action, Krafton’s privacy policy may provide an escape route. However, the Indian government will have the final say in the matter, and we can only hope it is not as bad as last year’s.

PUBG Mobile and 117 other apps were banned by India last year for posing a threat to the country’s sovereignty and security. The more straightforward explanation for the ban is that all of the apps were linked to a Chinese company. While the apps were shown the exit door last year, nothing was said about the companies that created them. That is why Tencent and several other Chinese companies continue to operate in India – albeit with some workforce reductions and the closure of some loss-making businesses to stay afloat.

This should be noted because, even though Battlegrounds Mobile India does not share any data with Chinese servers, it will still suffer damage, as several others online are already asking the game to be banned once again. Despite several letters sent by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), demanding a ban on the aforementioned battle royale game, the Union IT and Communication Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, has refused.