Law & Governance

Targets Of Pegasus Spyware Demand Answers From Indian Government

BP World Bureau | Nov 08 2019 04:12:26 PM
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A group of journalists, lawyers, activists and academics wrote an open letter to the Indian government seeking answers on the recent WhatsApp privacy breach by Israeli based spyware Pegasus. 

As many as two dozen intellectuals, Dalit rights activists, lawyers and journalists were alerted by WhatsApp regarding the hacking of their devices and surveillance by Israeli spyware Pegasus

Read: Praful Patel, Santosh Bharatiya Among Users Targeted by Spyware On WhatsApp 

The letter highlighted concerns regarding an unknown entity surveilling them and that their intimate details, conversations and transactions were being spied on. This violated their right to privacy, the security of not just them but their family, colleagues, clients and peers. 

The letter also condemned the surveillance for going against the traditional right to free expressions and ideas. 

They questioned if the taxpayer went for the cyber-surveillance and the information technology behind this. 

Pegasus technology belonged to the Israeli NSO who argued that the technology is sold to government and related organisations. The technology is used to spy on possible threats, terrorists and individuals deemed as anti-nationals. 

Read: WhatsApp Spyware Controversy: Statements From Both Ends 

The open letter was signed by 19 out of two dozen targets of the spyware such as Asish Gupta, Ravindra Nath Balla, Bela Bhatia, Degree Prasad Chouhan, Devika Menon, Jagdish Meshram, NihalSing Rathod, Adv. Mandeep Ajmal Khan, Alok Shukla, Ankit Grewal, Nikita Agarwal, Rupali Jadhav, Seema Azad, Vira Sathidar, Shalini Gera, Shubhranshu Choudhary, and Vidhya.

The letter demanded the government to take action against the perpetrators and to ensure the cybersecurity of the citizens. 

The NSO group was sued by WhatsApp for using the social media platform to spy on over 1000 people globally. 

NSO countered by saying that the technology is shared only with legitimate government agencies. 

As per reports, the use of this technology led to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi after which the technology was limited in the country. 

Read: Opposition Parties To Meet President Over WhatsApp Surveillance Row