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Pegasus Spyware: Phones of journalists, activists hacked; govt denies claim

Updated : July 19, 2021 15:17:58 IST

Over 16 media organisations including The Guardian and the Washington Post have reported on large scale surveillance of human rights activists, journalists and lawyers around the world using the hacking spyware, Pegasus, sold by the Israeli surveillance company the NSO Group.

It reports on a list that has been accessed by Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International which has 50,000 names on it. These were people who were allegedly snooped upon or were under surveillance of foreign government using the military-grade spyware, Pegasus, owned by Israel NSO Group.

Most of these numbers are concentrated in about 10 countries, which includes Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia and India.

The Wire which has partnered with all these global media firms has said that 40 Indian journalists are potential targets of surveillance with Pegasus software. Reports also say that at least the phones of 10 Indian journalists were infected with this spyware as well.

The Indian government has responded, specifically to The Washington Post and also shared it with other journalists saying that the allegations regarding government surveillance have no truth.

It further states that India has a well-established protocol for lawful interception and surveillance. Requests for interception have to be cleared by high ranking officials and even in the past where the story had made headlines, the Indian government had denied it and so had WhatsApp.

Watch the accompanying video of CNBC-TV18’s Parikshit Luthra to know more about the global surveillance that has taken place in different countries.
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