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  India   All India  21 Nov 2019  Parliamentary panel probes WhatsApp snooping issue

Parliamentary panel probes WhatsApp snooping issue

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Nov 21, 2019, 1:38 am IST
Updated : Nov 21, 2019, 1:38 am IST

The activists said they too were willing to provide oral testimony to the standing committee.

The committee also discussed the attempted cyber-attack on the Kudankulam nuclear power plant recently.
 The committee also discussed the attempted cyber-attack on the Kudankulam nuclear power plant recently.

New Delhi: The parliamentary standing committee on information technology on Wednesday called the representatives of the ministry of electronics and information technology, the ministry of home affairs and the department of atomic energy for a briefing during a discussion on citizens’ data security and privacy in the wake of the WhatsApp snooping incident.

The committee also discussed the attempted cyber-attack on the Kudankulam nuclear power plant recently. While the details of the meeting are yet to be known, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who heads the committee, in a letter to the panel members said that the alleged use of technology for snooping on Indian citizens was a matter of grave concern.

 

However, the meeting saw heated arguments between members after some opposed the move to take up the issue for discussion. This led to voting and the matter was finally taken up after members outvoted those opposing the move. The secretaries of the home affairs and electronics and information technology ministries, meanwhile, kept waiting for over two hours while the MPs argued and finally voted.

The issue of snooping through Israeli spyware Pegasus was flagged by WhatsApp and alerted several Indians, mainly journalists, human rights activists and politicians to spying by unidentified entities.

Pegasus is owned by Israeli firm NSO that usually deals directly with governments.

 

Seventeen out of 22 human rights activists who were allegedly targeted by the Pegasus spyware had written to Dr Tharoor requesting his committee to summon the relevant government departments to answer questions related to their unauthorised surveillance operations and explain if the government had purchased and used Pegasus.

The activists said they too were willing to provide oral testimony to the standing committee.

Tags: kudankulam nuclear power plant, whatsapp snooping