SC panel invites victims of Pegasus surveillance to come forward

In a public notice, the committee asked such people to contact them by January 7 and said it is ready to examine their phones

Pegasus was allegedly used in India to spy on opposition politicians, bureaucrats and journalists, among others. Illustration: Eunice Dhivya

The Supreme Court committee investigating the use of Pegasus spyware to surveil prominent Indians, including politicians, activists and journalists, has sought information from those who suspect their phones were targeted. 

In a public notice, the committee asked such people to contact them by January 7 and said it is ready to examine their phones.

The SC ordered the investigation in the wake of the political storm set off by global headlines that the spyware from the Israeli firm NSO Group was used to target hundreds of people around the world.

In India, news portal The Wire said that more than 140 people were targeted. Forensic analysis of some of the phones by the Security Lab of Amnesty International confirmed a security breach, the reports said.

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The alleged list included Congress’s Rahul Gandhi, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, two serving Union ministers, an ex-election commissioner, two registrars of the Supreme Court and 40 journalists.

Under pressure after the NSO group said it does business only with governments and government agencies – the Centre told Parliament that no illegal interception had been done. But no discussion on the issue took place in either house.

In October responding to a clutch of petitions, the SC ordered the formation of a three-member expert committee, saying the state will “not get a free pass” every time national security is raised and the court will not remain a “mute spectator”.

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