STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Use of spying tech against civil society, regime critics, journalists always concerning: US on Pegasus row

The alleged use of the Pegasus software to spy on politicians, journalists, human rights defenders and others in many countries, including India, has triggered concerns over issues relating to privacy

Published: 24th July 2021 10:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th July 2021 10:08 AM   |  A+A-

Reports about the use of Pegasus in France emerged this week.

India categorically rejected allegations linked to the Pegasus snooping row. (Representational image)

By PTI

WASHINGTON: The US has said it is against the use of spying technology on civil society, regime critics and journalists through "extrajudicial means", even as it maintained that it has no particular insight into the Pegasus snooping case in India.

The alleged use of the Pegasus software to spy on politicians, journalists, human rights defenders and others in many countries, including India, has triggered concerns over issues relating to privacy.

Politicians, rights activists and journalists were among those targeted with phone spyware sold to various governments by the Israeli firm NSO Group Technologies, according to an international media consortium.

"The whole notion of using this type of technology against civil society, or regime critics, or journalists, or anybody like that through extrajudicial means is always concerning," Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Dean Thompson told reporters during a news conference here on Friday.

ALSO READ | No place for Centre to hide on Pegasus snoopgate

The international media consortium on Sunday reported that over 300 verified mobile phone numbers of over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and one sitting judge besides scores of businesspersons and activists in India could have been targeted for hacking through the Pegasus spyware.

India on Monday categorically rejected allegations linked to the Pegasus snooping row, saying attempts were being made to "malign" Indian democracy.

Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw asserted that illegal surveillance was not possible with checks and balances in the country's laws.

"The press reports of 18th July 2021 also appear to be an attempt to malign the Indian democracy and its well-established institutions," Vaishnaw said in Parliament.

Read Explainer |  How to find out if your phone was infected with the Pegasus spyware

India, the minister said, has an "established protocol when it comes to surveillance....any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and our robust institutions."

Minister of state for external affairs Meenakshi Lekhi on Thursday said that the story on the alleged snooping through Israeli spyware Pegasus is "concocted, fabricated and evidence-less" and that the news reports based on it call for "defamation".

When asked about the Pegasus snooping case in India, Thompson said: "We -- I don't have any particular special insights into the India case."

"I know this is a broader issue, but I will say that we've been, I think, quite vocal about trying to find ways for companies to be able to ensure that their technology is not used in these types of ways. And we will certainly continue to press those issues," he said.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

edexworks
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp