Given the evolving news about the Pegasus spyware and as reportedly used against several Indian activists, journalists and politicians between 2017 and 2019, MediaNama has contacted several Indian parliamentarians with questions on the same issue.
This ongoing report will from now on be updated to reflect any important reactions, statements or announcements made by Indian MPs:
Why is it important?: The revelations resulting from joint reporting by Forbidden stories and other partners News agencies have a significant impact on surveillance and privacy. Although India has long been suspected of being a Pegasus buyer, the level and type of surveillance it has put in place, and the profile of the victims, hardly suggests that it is anything related to national security or how it is dealt with organized crime has to do with – the two overheads that dictate the use of such spyware. The Indian government did not categorically disputed spying on the individuals, however, citing surveillance laws and saying that “allegations about government surveillance of certain individuals have no concrete basis or truth.”
Using Pegasus is chopping, not knocking: AIMIM boss Asaduddin Owaisi
The Hyderabad MP and the head of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslims (AIMIM), Asaduddin Owaisi, called on the Union government to clarify the allegations that Pegasus had targeted activists and journalists. Owaisi tweeted, “The use of #Pegasus is hacking, unauthorized interception,” or wiretapping. Hacking is a crime whether it is committed by individuals or the government (sic). The government only needs to explicitly disclose or deny 2 things: 1 Have you used NSO spyware or not? 2 Did you speak to specific people named in news reports? 1/2 (sic) ”
#Pegasus Use is hacking, unauthorized interception or eavesdropping. Hacking is a crime whether it is committed by individuals or the government
The government only has to explicitly disclose or deny 2 things:
1 Did you use NSO spyware or not?
2 Did you speak to specific people named in news reports? 1/2
– Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) July 18, 2021
The subject of Pegasus will be taken up in the next meeting of the SC: TRS MP Reddy
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MP and Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, Ranjith Reddy, said the controversy over news reports alleging that the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware was used by journalists, activists, etc., in response to inquiries by MediaNama.
“It has been reported that this spyware not only hacks your phone, but also gains access to your camera and takes pictures. This is very worrying. If they can go that far, how do we keep someone’s privacy and security? ”Reddy told MediaNama. Aside from being dealt with in the Standing Committee, which has scheduled hearings during the ongoing monsoons session of Parliament, the matter will also be raised in Parliament, he added.
That’s what the Lok Sabha website says there is a meeting planned on July 27th in committee room C of the annex of the parliament building “To the opinions of individuals / stakeholders / organizations in relation to the examination of the subject of ‘Review of the functioning of the Central Committee for Film Certification (CBFC)’ in relation to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in relation to ‘Draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Draft Law 2021 “. It is likely that the Pegasus issue will be raised during this meeting.
Suspend Parliamentary Affairs to Discuss Pegasus: AAP MP Sanjay Singh
Aam Aadmi MP Sanjay Singh tabled a notice on Monday requesting the suspension of planned business in parliament for discussing the Pegasus spyware problem, a report by the Indian express said. The 26-day monsoon session of Parliament started today.
What is Pegasus spyware capable of?
Pegasus “enables law enforcement and intelligence agencies to remotely and covertly extract valuable information from virtually any mobile device,” the NSO Group submitted to the court. “Governments can use Pegasus to intercept messages, take screenshots, or exfiltrate a device’s contacts or history,” it said.
Pegasus, which has been in the market since at least 2016, can also remotely turn on a phone’s camera and microphone to track activity near the phone and use GPS capabilities to appropriately track a target’s location and movements to pursue its function Product description.
Read more about it here.