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Pegasus enquiry panel urged to investigate Bharti Airtel over deployment of the spyware

The telecom giant did not provide a direct answer to whether their networks have ever been infected with Pegasus.

Airtel

Respondents in the ongoing probe into the Pegasus spyware have called on the Supreme Court-appointed expert panel to order Bharti Airtel to depose before the committee. They cited Citizen Lab's report which claimed that a few Indian companies' networks had been infected with the spyware. Citizen Lab, a security organisation at the University of Toronto, in a report from 2018, said that command and control servers of Pegasus were located in India under autonomous system numbers (ASNs) of service providers, including that of Bharti Airtel. Apart from that, the report also found infections in ASNs of Hathway IP Over Cable Internet, Atria Convergence Technologies Pvt Ltd (ACT), National Internet Backbone, and Star Broadband Services, all of which are based in India. Privacy and security researcher Anand Venkatanarayanan and co-founder of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) Professor Jagdeep Chhokar*, in their affidavits submitted before the Justice RV Raveendran-led committee, said that an enquiry into Airtel by the committee would "confirm the deployment of Pegasus infrastructure in their networks". Chhokar was one of the 300 Indians featured in the list of more than 50,000 potential targets of surveillance (through Pegasus) by government clients of the NSO Group. In October 2021, the Supreme Court appointed a committee to investigate the deployment of Pegasus spyware in India after a consortium of 17 news organisations carried out an investigation into the matter. At the centre of the investigation was the spyware, developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group, which has serious consequences on issues pertaining to…

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

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