Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan is planning to file a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court to seek an investigation by cyber experts into the WhatsApp hacking of human rights activists and lawyers and journalists, HuffPost India reported on Thursday, 31 October.
He told reporters that the government should come clean about whose phones were tapped and who ordered it, and that there should be complete accountability. “There should be an investigation into this. Full investigation by cyber experts,” Bhushan was quoted by HuffPost as saying.
Catch all the coverage on WhatsApp snooping here.
Pegasus, a Spyware manufactured by Israeli firm NSO group, was used to hack into WhatsApp of several lawyers, activists, journalists and academics.
Bhushan said that only governments can use this kind of spyware and therefore it is clear that either the government is snooping on these people or someone else, on the government’s orders.
“Clearly this is something the government would be wanting to do. And it’s totally illegal. It’s a gross violation of people’s right to privacy.”Prashant Bhushan, Lawyer
He further mentioned how this is also a gross violation of several Supreme Court judgments where the judges have laid down guidelines of how and under what circumstances phones could be tapped.
“If it was so necessary, the government could have conducted surveillance by following procedures mentioned in the 1996 judgement of the SC,” Bhushan told the website.
“It’s a matter of grave public interest and importance. Hundreds of activists and lawyers and journalists, if their phones have been tapped like this, WhatsAspp has been tapped like this, then it’s clearly a matter of very, very serious public concern. Very serious,” he said when asked if his legal notice will be in the form of a PIL.