WhatsApp surveillance: Congress accuses Narendra Modi govt of 'snooping', urges Supreme Court to hold Centre accountable

  • Facebook-owned WhatsApp said Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using an Israeli spyware Pegasus

  • Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjwala slammed the Narendra Modi government in a series of tweets, accusing it of spying on journalists, activists and Opposition leaders

  • He also urged the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognisance of these illegal activities and to hold hte government to account

  • Tagging a media report which claimed that 1.3 million Indian payment card details are up for sale on the dark web, Surjewala also alleged that 'data theft and data fraud' has become the norm since Modi govt came to power

New Delhi: The Congress alleged on Thursday that the Modi government has been "caught snooping" after WhatsApp said that journalists and human rights activists in India have been targets of surveillance, as it urged the Supreme Court to hold the Centre accountable over the issue.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp said Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using an Israeli spyware Pegasus.

"Modi govt caught snooping! Appalling but not Surprising! After all, BJP Govt- 1. Fought against our right to privacy. 2. Set up a multi-crore Surveillance Structure until stopped by SC. SC must take immediate cognisance and issue notice to BJP government," Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a series of tweets.

"A government that spies on journalists/activists/Opposition leaders and treats its own citizens like criminals has lost the right to lead in our democracy. We urge the SC to take suo motu cognisance of these illegal activities and to hold this government to account," he said.

He also posted questions on Twitter for Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad over the issue.

"1. Which agency of GOI has purchased and deployed the Pegasus Surveillance Software? 2. Who — PMO or NSA — authorised the purchase? 3. What action do you intend on taking against the guilty?" he asked.

WhatsApp said it was suing NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm, that is reportedly behind the technology that helped unnamed entities' spies to hack into phones of roughly 1,400 users.

 WhatsApp surveillance: Congress accuses Narendra Modi govt of snooping, urges Supreme Court to hold Centre accountable

These users span across four continents and included diplomats, political dissidents, journalists and senior government officials. However, it did not say on whose behest the phones of journalists and activists across the world were targeted.

Tagging a media report which claimed that 1.3 million Indian payment card details are up for sale on the dark web, Surjewala also alleged that "data theft and data fraud" has become the norm since Modi government came to power.

"Is this why Modi ji calls Data the new Oil (for BJP Machine?). 1.3 million Indian Payment Card Details are up for sale on Dark Web putting the cardholders vulnerable to yet another synchronised fraud," he said.

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Updated Date: Nov 03, 2019 15:24:02 IST