EU Parliament To Take Up Pegasus Inquiry While Indian Parliament Still In Denial!
Good news: the proposal by @RenewEurope for an @Europarl_EN inquiry committee into the #Pegasus scandal now has support from a majority! It must be set up asap and fully investigate claims of illegal spying on government critics. @rozathun @donath_anna— Sophie in 't Veld (@SophieintVeld) February 9, 2022
France, Hungary, and Israel itself have all launched investigations on the spyware. Dissident American ex-contractor and activist Edward Snowden, famous for his whistleblowing on the U.S. NSA’s spying and surveillance activities, has called for an end to the ‘hack-for-hire’ industry of surveillance software being sold to governments around the world. Indian Response To Pegasus Scandal: Privacy, Spying Issues Make Little Dent The European Union becomes the latest to move towards a full investigation into the use of the spyware developed by Israel-based NSO group. While the bloc’s parliament is considering taking up the matter, the Indian Parliament, which is overwhelmingly controlled by the BJP, has refused to list the matter for debate until now and the Centre told the Supreme Court that it will not furnish any details about its use of the spyware citing ‘national security’. Subsequently, the Supreme Court passed an order in October 2021 which constituted an expert committee based on a clutch of petitions by people who alleged that their phones had been hacked and taken over by the spyware. The response to the SC-appointed committee seems to be lukewarm at best, with media reporting that the Technical Committee formed by the court had only received three responses until February 3rd , after whichit extended the deadline to February 8th which also expired three days ago. The seven people accused in the 2018 ‘Elgar Parishad violence’ case have also submitted their phones to the technical expert committee on the apprehension that their phones had been infected with the spyware. New York Times Report Reignites Pegasus Issue In India An article carried by the New York Times in January 28th reported that the Indian and Israeli governments concluded a deal in 2017 for $2 billion, which included the Pegasus spyware. This was picked up in Indian media widely and there were sporadic street protests led by the Congress, with Rahul Gandhi repeating the charge of “treason” on the Modi government, while the ruling BJP dismissed the report. The report says that the software was acquired by Mexico and Saudi Arabia, and was used by the latter to spy and suppress women’s rights activism. It also claimed that the software was acquired by Hungary and Poland, both of whom are members of the European Union. Web media portal The Wire conducted its investigation relating to the software in India and found that it had been used against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, political strategist Prashant Kishor, the then Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, and now Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, along with the numbers of 40 journalists.