Snoopgate | Pegasus Used to Target Those Who Speak Truth to Power

We cannot normalise snooping. We need answers, and not evasive explanations from our elected representatives.

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Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
Video Producer: Shohini Bose

Pegasus is a nasty, nasty piece of technology which is being used now to target human rights activists, journalists and anyone who speaks truth to power, all around the world.

Pegasus, which is a client of NSO, can take control of a phone – enabling them to extract a person's messages, calls, photos and emails. It can also secretly activate cameras or microphones and read the contents of even encrypted messaging apps – WhatsApp, Telegram or Signal.

It comes as no surprise because the last time we learnt about this was when the government of India was spying and extracting the vulnerability in WhatsApps on a variety of human rights activists and journalists.

No Oversight on Govt Surveillance on Own Citizens

India is perhaps the only democratic country which does not have any oversight, whether it is by the judiciary or by the Parliament, over the surveillance that the government carries out on its citizens.

We are in a dire need for this but there has been no discussion over this, for obvious reasons. Because, no matter which party is in power, they all want to surveil their citizens.

The Data Protection Bill does not talk at all about surveillance that the State carries out. In fact, the government keeps expanding the extent of powers it has, to carry out such illegal surveillance which goes against the Human Rights Declaration or even the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that India is a party to.

'We Need Answers, Not Evasive Explanations from Elected Representatives'

It is high time that the elected representatives stop giving excuses to their citizens. Also, the citizens must stop forgetting and normalising that this is just a compliment of the fact that you are doing a great job or this is a medal of honour because you are a journalist.

We cannot normalise this. We need reform and we need answers, and not evasive explanations from our elected representatives as to why they pretend to be a democracy, if they are going to continue behaving in an authoritarian fashion so that all institutions are destroyed and a citizen does not have any freedom or liberty to exercise any of their rights.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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