A parliamentary standing committee headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor will take up the WhatsApp snooping case, which according to the Facebook-owned messaging app compromised the privacy of 121 Indians, mainly consisting of journalists and human rights activists, in its next meeting on November 20, sources said on Wednesday.
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.
In a press conference held on Sunday, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused the ruling BJP party of spying on its citizens through cyber-attacks designed to secretly infiltrate their mobile phones.
The individuals received alerts saying they were among more than 100 human rights campaigners whose phones were believed to have been hacked using malware sold by NSO Group, an Israeli cyberweapons company. The Congress leader also alleged that the Israeli spyware was sold only to the government and no one else.
Shashi Tharoor, who heads the parliamentary standing committee on information technology, said in a letter to his panel members that 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 November 20. 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.
WhatsApp launched an unprecedented lawsuit against the Israeli surveillance company earlier this week, claiming it had discovered more than 1,400 of its users around the world, were targeted by NSO technology in a two-week period in May.