Since WhatsApp snooping of human rights activists and journalists in India attained political corridors on Thursday, an RTI reply obtained by IANS has revealed that the Indian government flatly denied either purchasing or planning to purchase the infamous software in question produced by Israeli cyber intellect firm NSO Group. Pegasus exploited WhatsApp’s video calling system with installing the spyware through providing calls that were missed to snoop on 1,400 select users worldwide, such as over 20 individuals in India.
In a response to an RTI Detective registered on October 23 which asked if the Indian government has bought or given purchase order for its software named Pegasus in the NSO Group, the Ministry of Home Affairs replied on October 31:”Please refer to your online RTI program dated 23.10.2019 obtained by the undersigned CPIO on 24.10.2019. It’s informed that no such advice is available with all the undersigned CPIO.”
“An appeal, if any, against this reply can be made within 30 days,” that the MHA reply added.
Significantly, the reply came on the day once the WhatsApp spygate drove the BJP and the Congress leaders to heated discussions over various social media platforms.
IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad joined the discussion , saying the government is worried at the violation of the privacy of citizens of India about the messaging platform WhatsApp and has requested that the platform to explain the breach.
The nation went berserk after WhatsApp affirmed that Indian human rights activists and journalists were among those targeted by the Israeli spyware Pegasus
The Home Ministry issued a separate statement on the WhatsApp controversy:”Some statements have emerged based on reports in the media, seeing breach of privacy of Indian citizens on WhatsApp. These efforts to malign India’s Government for the violation that is documented are misleading.
“The Government of India is committed to protect the basic rights of citizens, such as the right of privacy; also will take strict action against any intermediary responsible for violation of privacy”
The NSO Group restricts sales of Pegasus to many others and say intelligence agencies. The program has the power to collect intimate data from a target device.
Pegasus spyware can be installed on devices as”exploit links”.
In accordance with cyber security specialists, this newest WhatsApp spyware attack’s sufferers may have lost important information including location information and email content.
“One can assume that an individual may find bulk contact lists, email data, place data or other private information,” Leonard added.