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Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas files PIL in Supreme Court on Pegasus spyware, seeks probe: Report

Since the Pegasus Project exposé, demands for an independent investigation into the revelations have only grown as the issue might have major implications on the state of surveillance and privacy in the country.  John Brittas, a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), filed a public interest litigation (PIL)* in the Supreme Court of India over the Pegasus revelations on July 24, according to a Live Law report. The PIL (a copy of which MediaNama has seen) prays for a probe into the Pegasus issue after it was revealed by news reports that Pegasus had been used to snoop on (or in some cases potentially target) journalists, activists, politicians, businessmen, constitutional functionaries, among others. Pegasus is a military-grade spyware developed by an Israeli company called NSO Group which has clarified that it only sells the spyware to vetted governments and its agencies. A consortium of 17 news organisations led by Forbidden Stories investigated a leaked list containing 50,000 phone numbers that were said to be targets or potential targets of Pegasus spyware by clients of the NSO Group.  Why does it matter? Pegasus’ deployment upon journalists, activists, political leaders, businessmen, scientists, among others, has sparked concerns about the sanctity of freedoms of speech and expression in a constitutional democracy, according to the Editors Guild of India. Moreover, the Indian government has not issued any categorical denial around the use of Pegasus by government agencies let alone order an investigation into the matter.    What does the PIL say?  The writ petition…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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