Pegasus Snoopgate: Supreme Court Appoints Expert Inquiry Committee

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a committee of experts to inquire into the alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for surveillance of Indian citizens. A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said the three-member committee will be headed by former apex court judge RV Raveendran.

Citing national security, the Centre had refused to file a detailed affidavit in the matter.

The pleas are related to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians, and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO’s spyware Pegasus.

In July, an investigation by a global media consortium based on leaked targeting data provided further evidence that the military-grade malware is being used to spy on journalists, human rights activists, and political dissidents.

From a list of more than 50,000 cellphone numbers obtained by the Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and the human rights group Amnesty International and shared with 16 news organisations, journalists were able to identify more than 1,000 individuals in 50 countries who were allegedly selected by NSO clients for potential surveillance.

They include 189 journalists, more than 600 politicians, and government officials, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, and several heads of state, according to The Washington Post, a consortium member. The journalists work for organisations including The Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, and The Financial Times.




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