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Pegasus: Numbers of Anil Ambani and other industrialists also on list for probable surveillance

While the list of mobile numbers marked for probable surveillance is expansive, Ambani's inclusion gains significance in the context of the 2018 Rafale deal and the controversy that ensued.  Phone numbers used by industrialist Anil Ambani as well as officials from aerospace and defence manufacturing firms like Dassault Aviation India, Saab India, and Boeing India were marked as probable targets for surveillance by an Indian client of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, a report by The Wire said. Why it matters? These reports by an international consortium of media organisations that have been revealing identities of victims affected by Pegasus - and of those who were potential targets of the spyware - have major implications on the state of surveillance and privacy in the country. While earlier reports of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka politicians being included in the list had suggested that these potential deployments may have a political motive, new reports suggested that even officials of defence manufacturing firms may have been surveilled. Anil Ambani: The Wire report said that Ambani's name was included in the leaked database of numbers in 2018, around the time when the Narendra Modi-led Indian government decided to purchase 36 Rafale aircraft and allegedly proposed to make Ambani the industry partner for this deal. A PIL was taken up regarding this issue at the Supreme Court after a controversy regarding the deal erupted in France and India, the Wire report said. The mere presence of a number on this list does not imply the smartphone…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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