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Govt seeks explanation from WhatsApp on breach, says committed to privacy of citizens of India

ANI | Updated: Oct 31, 2019 19:12 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct 31 (ANI): The Centre has on Thursday sought an explanation from WhatsApp to explain the breach of privacy after the messaging platform informed several Indian users this week that they had been targetted by Israeli spyware Pegasus earlier this year.
Taking to Twitter, Union information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the government is concerned at the breach of privacy of citizens of India on WhatsApp and has sought a detailed explanation from the messaging platform.
"We have asked WhatsApp to explain the kind of breach and what it is doing to safeguard the privacy of millions of Indian citizens," he tweeted.
The government is committed to protecting the privacy of all Indian citizens, he said adding that the government agencies have a well-established protocol for the interception, which includes sanction and supervision from highly ranked officials in the central and state governments for clearly stated reasons in the national interest.
Prasad claimed that some people were attempting to take political mileage out of the issue. "Those trying to make political capital out of it need to be gently reminded about the bugging incident in the office of the then eminent Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during the UPA regime. Also a gentle reminder of the spying over the then Army Chief General V K Singh," he said.
The Union Minister said that these are instances of breach of privacy of highly reputed individuals, for "personal whims and fancies of a family".
According to reports, WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned company recently revealed that journalists and activists in India have been the target of surveillance by operators using the Israeli spyware Pegasus. The messaging platform said that it had reached out to the people who were targetted but has declined to reveal the identities and "exact number" of those who were targeted.
The disclosure comes after WhatsApp announced that it was suing an Israeli surveillance firm, NSO Group, in a US fedral court in San Francisco which helped government spies to hack into phones of around 1,400 WhatsApp users. (ANI)