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Tharoor-Headed Panel to Take Up Whatsapp Snooping Case on 20 Nov

Two parliamentary panels headed by Congress leaders have decided to examine the WhatsApp snooping case. 

Updated
India
2 min read
Two parliamentary panels headed by Congress leaders have decided to examine the WhatsApp snooping case.
i

A parliamentary standing committee headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor will take up the WhatsApp snooping case in its next meeting on 20 November, sources said on Wednesday, 6 November.

Tharoor, who heads the parliamentary standing committee on information technology, said in a letter to his panel members that the alleged use of the technology for snooping on Indian citizens was a matter of “grave concern” and it would be discussed at the committee's next meeting on 20 November.

Two parliamentary panels headed by Congress leaders have decided to examine the WhatsApp snooping case and will seek details from top government officials including the Home Secretary.

He said the standing committee members from both the ruling party and the Opposition must work together to safeguard the fundamental rights of the citizens.

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

The Home Secretary is scheduled to brief the panel on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the next meeting. “In that meeting this issue will also be discussed and we will seek details from the secretary,” Sharma said.

‘Will Seek Clarification From the Govt’

Concerned about this development, Shashi Tharoor, who heads the parliamentary standing committee on information technology, said the panel would share its concerns.

He said he will consult other members by email on the matter.

“In any case Cybersecurity is a major issue on our agenda and we are definitely going to take this up under that rubric. And we will be seeking clarifications from the government,” Tharoor said.

He said as the WhatsApp NSO issue has emerged in the open it is important to ensure that no other social media platform can be similarly used, and the panel will seek to learn how exactly the government can ensure that.

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It is vital that as a democracy, India remains vigilant about the risk of our freedoms being eroded by technological means. We must not, at any price, become a surveillance state like China, he said.

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

These users span across four continents and include diplomats, political dissidents, journalists and senior government officials.

Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has askedWhatsAppfor a report on the allegations.

Facebook owned WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users globally, of which India accounts for about 400 million.

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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