Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said the government has no plans to link Aadhaar with social media accounts.

In a written reply to Parliament, Prasad said the data of Aadhaar is completely secure and it is audited frequently from time to time.

He added that under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the government has the right to block accounts in the country in matters of public interest.

The number of URLs that the government has blocked from 2016-2019 are 633 (2016), 1,385 (2017), 2,799 (2018), and 3,433 (2019).

On AIMIM leader Asauddin Owaisi’s query on the cyberattack by Israeli spyware Pegasus targetting Indian journalists and human rights activists using WhatsApp, Prasad replied that the government has taken cognizance of the fact that spyware tried to attack the phones of 121 people of India. He said the government is committed to the Right to Privacy of its citizens.

Prasad said the government has asked WhatsApp to explain about the Pegasus attack on its users using its platform.

“We asked WhatsApp to provide a detailed report. We are bringing a bill for the private data security of citizens,” Prasad added.

WhatsApp has filed a legal suit in a US Federal Court against an Israeli firm – NSO Group – alleging that it was behind cyber-attacks that infected devices with malicious software.

Earlier, in its complaint against the Israeli firm, WhatsApp claimed that the firm installed spyware on users’ phones and targeted human rights defenders, journalists, political dissidents, diplomats and government officials.

WhatsApp has claimed that Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using Israeli spyware Pegasus.

WhatsApp accused the NSO Group of sending malware to roughly 1,400 mobile phones for ”surveillance”.

The Israeli firm, which makes software for surveillance, has rejected these allegations. In its complaint, WhatsApp claimed that the NSO Group “developed their malware in order to access messages and other communications after they were decrypted on target devices”.

WhatsApp said that it is seeking a permanent injunction banning NSO from using its service.