Government ‘concerned’ about WhatsApp spyware

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NEW DELHI: The government today said it had asked WhatsApp to explain the breach of privacy of Indian users who were targeted by Israeli spyware earlier this year. It also said attempts to malign the government for the reported breach were completely misleading and “strict action” would be taken against those guilty of violating the law.
On Thursday, Facebook-owned WhatsApp said Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using an Israeli sypware Peagasus.WhatsApp said it was suing NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm, that is reportedly behind the technology that helped unnamed entities’ spies to hack into phones of roughly 1,400 users.These users span across four continents and included diplomats, political dissidents, journalists and senior government officials.

In a series of tweets, the minister said the government is committed to protecting the privacy of citizens. Prasad added that state agencies have a well-established protocol for interception for clearly stated reasons in the national interest.
He also highlighted the alleged surveillance scandals under the Congress government. “Those trying to make political capital out of it need to be gently reminded about the bugging incident in the office of the then eminent Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during UPA regime,” Prasad said. “Also a gentle reminder of the spying over the then Army Chief Gen VK Singh,” he added. “These are instances of breach of privacy of highly reputed individuals, for personal whims and fancies of a family.

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