Popular Front demands judicial investigation into the use of Israeli spyware

New Delhi: Popular Front of India Chairman O M A Salam, in a statement, has demanded judicial investigation into the reports of the use of Israeli spyware.

The reports coming out regarding the use of Pegasus in India is shocking. With products like the Pegasus, Israel is enabling human rights violations and weakening democratic activism and independent journalism across the world. The key clients of the Pegasus, the spyware developed by Israeli company NSO include both so-called democratic countries and autocratic governments that are notorious for human rights violations and treating their citizens as enemies. While the company claims the product is for countering terrorism, it was mainly used by paranoiac regimes to eavesdrop on opposition leaders, government officials, human rights activists and journalists.

The right to privacy is intrinsic to the right to life and liberty as per the Supreme Court. The Indian contacts in the list of Pegasus targets are particularly troubling as it includes Rahul Gandhi, Prashant Kishore and the Supreme Court staffer related to the sexual harassment case against former Chief Justice. The names disclosed till now are not terrorists or threats to the country. The government is now obliged to find who in the country are trying to hack India’s prominent personalities and is willing to pay millions of dollars to spy on them.

The lack of will on the part of the govt for a forensic analysis of the targeted devices and, instead, the tendency to justify such large scale spying on the citizens, raises doubt. Indian Government should make it clear whether it is a client of NSO or not.

If the Indian government is not behind this snooping, then why is it not coming forward to protect the privacy of the citizens from such serious attacks from unknown forces. If it is any foreign forces behind it, then the matter is a more serious case of national security, which should also have prompted more alertness and action, which is also not seen.

Therefore Popular Front demands a judicial investigation headed by Supreme Court Judge to expose the forces behind the most malicious and dangerous privacy violation in the history of the country.