BGMI (Battlegrounds Mobile India) is again set to be controversial as if the past few months were not enough. A new report has revealed that BGMI, dubbed as the Indian version of PUBG Mobile, has been sending its user data to myriad Tencent owned servers in China, while the game had committed to keeping all its user data to Indian servers. This is a regrettable story, but a story that must be told.
The government of India had banned PUBG Mobile back in September last year on account of 'national security and defence of India' in the backdrop of rising tensions between the two Asian nations, India and China. PUBG Mobile was not alone.
Krafton, the developers of the game, had immediately cut ties with the Chinese company Tencent, the then publishers, for Indian operations, or at least pretended to. Krafton had then introduced Battlegrounds Mobile India, which was to hold all its servers here in India itself.
Back to the present, BGMI was launched in India in early access on 17 June 2021. While the game has not been virgin to controversies, the most recent one is potentially set to get the game under the scanner again.
Battlegrounds Mobile India is communicating with Chinese servers
A report by Rishi Alwani of IGN India has revealed that BGMI was sending and receiving data from numerous countries (and not just India) including China, the US, and Russia.
The game is reportedly communicating with Tencent owned Proxima Beta in Hong Kong, and China Mobile Communications servers in Beijing, along with Microsoft Azure servers in Mumbai, Moscow, and the US.
As per the report, IGN installed a packet sniffer app before launching BGMI and then played a match. The sniffer had logged everything that the game was sending and receiving from that device. The logged data traced back to multiple Chinese services.
BGMI is sending your data to these servers in China
We ran the tests ourselves too, and we were able to identify at least two such Chinese servers.
Tencent Cloud Computing (Beijing) Co., Ltd.
The game pings Tencent Cloud as soon as it boots up. The logged IP address of the server was 18.104.22.168, which had opened a connection on port 18081. This particular port is generally used by various games.
We check the whois data of the said IP and found that it was owned by Tencent.
China Mobile Communications Corporation
The game also pings China Mobile Communications Corporation, a state-owned Chinese company. The said IP address was: 22.214.171.124.
Two other Tencent owned servers
IGN's report reveals two other Chinese servers, which are owned by Tencent.
- http://astat.bugly.qcloud.com (Qcloud is a cloud computing platform run by Tencent)
- http://down.anticheatexpert.com (Tencent’s anti-cheat solution)
BGMI may 'transfer your data to other countries'
Although BGMI has been reiterating that Indian users' data privacy is their prime concern, their terms do state that the company may transfer your data to other countries to meet legal requirements.
The worst part is that it has been 18 hours already since IGN's report was first published and Krafton has neither confessed nor discarded the allegation.
As much as I want to enjoy the game but Krafton's behaviours do make me feel sad about how it has been deceiving us Indians.