Last updated on
Jul 19, 2021, 10:18 am
India is committed to safeguarding the right to privacy of all its citizens, the central government said late on Sunday, responding to reports that mobile numbers of hundreds of Indians were hacked using a spyware.
Phone numbers of more than 300 Indian government officials, activists, and journalists, were intercepted over the past few years, reports revealed.
Here are more details on this.
‘Free speech is the cornerstone of India’s democratic system’
“India is a robust democracy that is committed to ensuring the right to privacy to all its citizens as a fundamental right,” the government said in a statement.
“The commitment to free speech as a fundamental right is the cornerstone of India’s democratic system. We have always strived to attain an informed citizenry with an emphasis on a culture of open dialogue,” it added.
‘No truth associated with this report,’ government says
The government stated the allegations of snooping have “no concrete basis or truth associated with it.”
“This news report, thus, also appears to be a similar fishing expedition, based on conjectures and exaggerations to malign the Indian democracy and its institutions,” it said.
“It also indicates poorly conducted research and lack of due diligence by the esteemed media organizations involved.”
Mobile numbers were targeted between 2018-2019, reports say
More than a dozen media organizations, including The Guardian, The Washington Post, and India’s The Wire published the said report.
Most of the mobile numbers were targeted between 2018 and 2019, they said.
For the unversed, Pegasus is sold by the Israeli company NSO Group, which says the software is only made available to government clients.
NSO Group denies allegations, says it is considering lawsuit
The NSO Group, however, has rubbished the allegations and said it is considering to file a defamation case.
“The report by Forbidden Stories is full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories that raise serious doubts about the reliability and interests of the sources,” the company said.
“In fact, these allegations are so outrageous and far from reality, that NSO is considering a defamation lawsuit.”
Monsoon Session of Parliament commences today amid these allegations
The allegations and the sharp reactions have come just ahead of the Monsoon Session of the Indian Parliament, which commences today.
Leaders of Opposition parties, including the Congress and the CPI, said they will raise the snooping controversy in the Parliament.
Meanwhile, the government is ready to put up a strong defense against the allegations, sources told NDTV.