New Delhi: A total of 3,433 URLs have been blocked in 2019, registering the highest number in the past few years, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply. The number was 633 in 2016, 1,385 in 2017, 2,799 in 2018.Under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the government has the right to block accounts, he said.

AIMIM leader Asauddin Owaisi asked the Union Minister on the cyberattack by an Israeli spyware Pegasus targetting Indian journalists and human rights activists using WhatsApp. Prasad replied that the government has taken cognizance of the fact that spyware tried to attack the phones of 121 people of India, adding that it is committed to the Right to Privacy of its citizens.

Aadhaar is secure, the minister said adding that there is no proposal to connect it to social media accounts.

On Whatsapp snooping row, the minister said that the government has asked WhatsApp to explain about the Israeli spyware Pegasus attack on its users using its platform. WhatsApp then updated Cert-In that the full impact of this attack could not be known. It also reported that there was a possibility that it tried to reach 121 people. “We asked WhatsApp to provide a detailed report. We are bringing a bill for the private data security of citizens,” Prasad added.