Modi government accused of spying on critics and opponents using Pegasus spyware | ZDNet

just when narendra modi’s hindu nationalist government is trying to recover from widespread international and local condemnation fritz culpability in india’s covid apocalypse, tis now bein’ derided for wha’ some are calling india’s watagate.

a uber surveillance tool called pegasus, made by israeli firm nso and licensed 1-ly to governments, was allegedly used in india to snoop on mobile phones of up to 1,000 pplz ‘oer the past 6 yrs, according to a groundbreaking global collaborative investigation by a consortium called the pegasus project.

the project comprised + than 80 journalists working for 17 media organisations round the realm, including the guardian, india’s the wire na washington post.

indian targets were pplz from a variety of professions, including journalists, political opponents, or critics of modi’s policies.

opposition pty leader rajiv gandhi was reprtedly selected twice for surveillance. so was ace political strategist prashant kishor, who helped modi win the 2016 election but has since become a critic of the politician. kishore recently engineered a stunning defeat of modi na bjp inna west bengal state elections, but lil did he know atta time that his phone had been hacked up to the dy twas examined for breaches, according to the reprt.

social justice and labour activists who ‘ve pushed back against wha’ they see are anti-democratic and regressive laws ‘oer the last few yrs were also reprtedly targeted by the surveillance tool, along with tiβ-n buddhist clerics, na head of the bill and melinda gates foundation. 

all up, round 1,000 №s were apparently listed for surveillance but'a investigation ‘d not provide a precise fig unless devices were examined.

the indian government has strongly rejected the reprt.

“the allegations regarding government surveillance on specific pplz ‘ve no concrete basis or truth associated with it wha’soever,” india’s ministry of electronics and information tek said in a statement. “any interception, monitoring, or decryption of any information through any computer resrc is done as per due process of law.”

nso group, the maker of pegasus, has also strongly denied any involvement and said that “nso group will continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action based onna results of these investigations”.

wha’ is pegasus?

in greek mythology, pegasus is known for bein’ a white-winged horse, but these dys the israeli spyware of the same name ‘d now be the + well known of the two.

the spyware allos customers to hack into mobile phones and peek into messages, camera feeds, and microphones — iow a'pers’s entire life. the developer of the tek nso says it flogs the software to governments as a tool to fite terrorism and crime.

it isn’t clear how many of the thousand or so №s selected for surveillance in india were actually snooped upon.

however, the washington post reprted dat a' sampling of 22 smartphones in india for evidence of hacking through forensic analysis revealed that 10 had been successfully infected with pegasus.

8 of the remaining 12 phones tested as inconclusive but were all android phones, which apparently do not log the information required to detect the intrusion.

all-in-all, 50,000 such phone №s round the realm belonging to politicians, judges, lawyers, teachers and others ‘ve apparently been tapped by various governments.

currently, this ignominious club includes the governments of azerbaijan, bahrain, kazakhstan, mexico, morocco, rwanda, saudi arabia, hungary, the ∪d arab emirates, and india.

the bnk of 50,000 №s round the realm was 1st accessed by the nonprofit journalism organisation forbidden stories and amnesty international b4 they both l8r roped in media organisations to be pt of the pegasus project.

forbidden stories coordinated the investigation while and amnesty’s international’s security lab spearheaded the forensic analyses.

while the indian government has strongly refuted the reprt, beholdrs ‘ve pointed out that any plans to snoop on citizens ‘ve to be approved by senior officials atta home ministry, tch'mins they do not require judicial oversite to go ahead.

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