NEW DELHI, India: A significant number of Indian journalists and human rights activists have been the victims of surveillance in 2019 by an Israeli firm, WhatsApp confirmed but decline to unearth their identities.
The Facebook-owned messenger app said that their surveillance was carried out by an Israeli surveillance firm ‘NSO Group’ using its spyware ‘Pegasus’.
“Indian journalists and human rights activists have been the target of surveillance and while I cannot reveal their identities and the exact number, I can say that it is not an insignificant number,” a WhatsApp Spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
The daily reported that at least two dozen Indian academics, lawyers, Dalit activists and journalists were contacted and alerted by WhatsApp that their phones had been under state-of-the-art surveillance for a two-week period until May 2019.
The Whatsapp Spokesperson didn’t reveal that on whose behest the phones of Indian journalists and human rights activists were targeted.
However the Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala has accused Narendra Modi of spying, and urged the Indian Supreme Court to hold his government accountable for it.
“A government that spies on journalists/activists/Opposition leaders and treats its own citizens like criminals has lost the right to lead in our democracy. We urge the SC to take suo motu cognizance of these illegal activities and to hold this government to account,” Randeep Surjewala said.