This Article is From Jan 02, 2022

'Give Us Details,' Panel Asks People Who Think They Were Pegasus Targets

The committee has also said that it was ready to examine the phones.

In a public notice, the committee has asked such people to contact them by January 7.

New Delhi:

The technical committee appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate the alleged use of Pegasus spyware to snoop on phones of politicians, activists and journalists, has sought information from people who suspect their phones were targeted. In a public notice, the committee has asked such people to contact them by January 7.

The committee has also said that it is ready to examine the phones.

The top court ordered the investigation after a huge political storm set off by global headlines that the spyware from the Israeli firm NSO Group was used to target many around the world.

In India, news portal "The Wire" that claimed that more than 142 people were targeted. Forensic analysis of some of the cellphones by the Security Lab of Amnesty International has confirmed a security breach, the reports said.

The alleged list included Congress's Rahul Gandhi, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, two serving Union Ministers, an ex-Election Commissioner, two registrars of the Supreme Court, an old number of a former judge, a close aide of a former Attorney General and 40 journalists.

Under pressure after the NSO group -- which said it does business only with governments and government agencies -- the government gave a statement in parliament, saying no illegal interception has been done. But no discussion on the issue took place in either house, which incensed the opposition.

In October responding to a clutch of petitions, the Supreme Court ordered the formation of a three-member expert committee, saying the state will "not get a free pass" every time national security is raised and the court will not remain a "mute spectator".

Overruling virtually every argument made by the Centre, the top court said privacy is not the singular concern of journalists or social activists but of every citizen. Surveillance, said the three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, "can have chilling effect on the freedom of speech".