17 of the 22 human rights activists, academics and lawyers, who had been targeted by the Pegasus spyware using a WhatsApp vulnerability, have written to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology (letter below), asking it to summon government departments to answer questions related to their unauthorized surveillance operations and if they had purchased and deployed Pegasus. Calling the revelation of this kind of surveillance “deeply disturbing” and a “flagrant violation of our rights as citizens”, they have also volunteered to provide an oral testimony to the committee. The standing committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow, that is, November 20. MediaNama had earlier reported that the standing committee would take up the WhatsApp issue in its meeting. In addition, the committee is also expected to discuss the cyber attack on Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. It is headed by Dr Shashi Tharoor. 19 of the 22 affected people had earlier written an open letter to the government of India, asking it to reveal all information it has about the attack, other similar methods of mass surveillance, and the identity of concerned players. WhatsApp had told the Indian government that 121 people were targeted by Pegasus in India through the WhatsApp vulnerability. Nihalsing Rathod, one of the people who was targeted using Pegasus, told MediaNama that the signatories believe this committee "to be more empowered, with more expertise on the issue" as it deals with data security and surveillance. The signatories haven't written to the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, which is…
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