The Parliamentary Information Technology Committee, led by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, is expected to record reports at its July 28 meeting about wiretapping politicians, journalists and others with the Israeli spyware Pegasus, a person familiar with the matter said. .
The panel will hear from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Telecommunications about the alleged phone hacking.
“Evidence from the representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Communications (Department of Telecommunications) on the topic of ‘Citizen Data Security and Privacy’,” said the panel’s notification, to which Hindustan has access. turn.
“GoI has denied resorting to unauthorized surveillance. The question this raises is: if #Pegasus is only sold to governments, what other governments (China/Pak?) are using it to snoop on prominent Indian citizens? Shouldn’t the authorities call for an independent investigation,” panel chair Tharoor tweeted on July 18.
This is not the panel’s first time raising the issue of Israeli spyware. In 2019, after WhatsApp’s vulnerabilities came to light, the panel heard about the issue from the respective departments.
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The software, which is made by Israel-based NSO Group, said it only supplies government customers. On Monday, reports revealed that in addition to 38 journalists, former Indian National Congress head Rahul Gandhi, two of his aides, political strategist Prashant Kishor, former election commissioner Ashok Lavasa and Union minister Prahlad Patel were also allegedly hacked. The list also included 11 members of the friends and family, along with the number of the woman who accused former Chief Justice of India Rajan Gogoi of sexual harassment.
The investigation by the consortium of media houses also cited public health experts Gagandeep Kang and M Hari Menon and diplomats from at least five countries as potential targets of Pegasus software manufactured by Israeli company NSO Group. Also on the list were the woman who then accused CJI Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment in 2019 and her family members, election strategist Prashant Kishor, and Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Abhishek Banerjee.
Union information technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who defended the government for hours in parliament before being named as a possible hacker target, and Jal Shakti state minister Prahlad Singh Patel were the government’s high-profile names.
The consortium published Sunday that 38 Indian journalists, including three current staffers from the Hindustan Times and one from sister publication Mint, were among 180 journalists potentially targeted worldwide, including Financial Times editor Roula Khalaf, and reporters from The Wall Street Journal. , CNN, The New York Times and Le Monde.
Of course, as the research methodology explains, the presence of a number doesn’t indicate that the individual’s phone was hacked — just that it was interesting. The government denied any involvement. However, the opposition has called for an investigation into the allegations.