“A disclosure of spyware purchases is an important step that states need to take,” said David Kaye, a professor at UC Irvine School of Law, in his deposition before the expert committee appointed by the Supreme Court of India to investigate the alleged use of Pegasus by the Indian government against its own citizens. Kaye served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression from 2014 to 2020. “Freedoms guaranteed and protected by international human rights law are threatened by the purchase and the use of Pegasus which is a part of an opaque industry of private surveillance tools.” — David Kaye States that do not disclose the purchase of Pegasus “contribute to the chilling effect on freedom of expression and assembly,” he added. Kaye said that the disclosure was important to ensure that the spyware is used for legitimate purposes, and “victims of unlawful surveillance have a way to seek redress”. Kaye also batted for a moratorium or a ban until spyware technology can adhere to human rights obligations such as being subjected to independent judicial controls and the removal of barriers to litigation to ensure effective remedies. The depositions conducted by the expert committee are significant in order to understand the arguments being made against the use of spyware by democratic governments. Kaye’s statement gives a particular insight into how the use of Pegasus is incongruent with India’s international human rights obligations. What is the three-part…
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