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Government did not seriously investigate Pegasus surveillance in 2019: Report

Even after assurances, the government’s probe of Pegasus spyware exploiting a flaw in WhatsApp has yielded no information.

The government did not follow through on its investigation into the WhatsApp-Pegasus revelations from 2019 or reach out to Israel regarding the NSO group, RTI responses published in The Quint on September 17 have revealed. Then IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had assured Parliament in October 2019 that the government would look into the Pegasus issue by sending notices to both WhatsApp and the NSO Group. This came after a vulnerability was found in WhatsApp's voice call feature that allowed NSO to install Pegasus on at least 121 targetted devices in India.  The government recently suggested to the Supreme Court that it will set up a committee of experts to look into fresh allegations regarding its use of Pegasus spyware on civil society members and opposition leaders. The government's failure to follow up on the 2019 revelations, however, raises serious questions about its ability to carry out an unbiased probe into the 2021 Pegasus Project revelations. What did the RTIs reveal? 'No information' about WhatsApp investigation: The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) had 'no information' regarding the outcome of the investigation into WhatsApp, the agency said on March 1, 2021, in response to an RTI query filed by transparency activist Saurav Das, according to The Quint's report.  No talks with Israel to date: In response to another RTI filed by Das, the Ministry of External Affairs revealed on August 24 that the government has not bilaterally raised the Pegasus issue with Israel, The Quint reported.  No response on NSO…

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