Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday attacked the government over the Whatsapp spygate row, saying, “I know that govt (government) is using Israel’s NSO Group to watch activities of politicians, media, judges & other important personalities.” She added, “It is wrong, you cannot capture privacy.”
Her statement came after the Facebook-owned messaging platform yesterday said that it had informed relevant Indian and International government authorities about the breach of privacy of various individuals in May itself. In its statement, it had also assured the Indian government that the messaging platform is committed to the protection of all users through their product, adding that they need to work together to protect users from hackers attempting to weaken security.
Notably, messaging platform Whatsapp had earlier confirmed that Israeli software ‘Pegasus’ was used allegedly by a surveillance firm NSO Group to snoop into the phones of many Indians including journalists, lawyers, and activists.
Prior to this, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had expressed displeasure at the breach of privacy of citizens and said the Central government is committed to protecting the privacy of all Indian citizens. It also sought a reply from Whatsapp over the privacy breach.
As per media reports, over 1,400 users were targeted upon by the spies. Investigations have also revealed that the users who were preyed upon span across four continents and were mostly diplomats, political dissidents, journalists, and senior government officials. Taking cognisance of the matter, the Facebook-owned company WhatsApp said it has sued the alleged NSO Group.