UC Browser, a cross platform web browser from UCWeb – a company owned by China’s Alibaba Group, is reportedly under Indian government investigations over sending user data to China. If government agencies find allegations true, the UC Browser may be banned in India.
According to StatCounter.com, UC Browser is the top mobile browser in India having over 48% market share. Interestingly, UC Browser doesn’t have even 1% market share in US. A possible reason for this huge market share in India and other countries having poor internet connectivity may be the server-side data compression used by UC Browser. Using this data compression technology, UC Browser acts as a proxy and serves optimized and compressed contents to the users. This helps users having slower internet connectivity, as compressed contents require lesser bandwidth and load faster even on devices having low-end hardware. On the other hand, in order to optimize and compress content, all user data is passed through the servers of UC Browser apparently based in China – and no one exactly knows how UCWeb deals with this data.
It is important to note here that UC Browser is not the only web browser using this server-side data compression technology. Opera Software’s Opera Mini and several other apps use this. Google Chrome also has a similar feature – even on desktop platform – but it works only for HTTP pages and doesn’t interfere with secured/HTTPS pages.
Times of India reports that the Indian government is now investigating the case and if UC Browser is found guilty of stealing data of Indian users, it may be banned in the country.