West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said the centre should probe into the WhatsApp admitting that Indian journalists and human rights activists were spied upon by unnamed entities used by Israeli spyware Pegasus. She reiterated the allegation that her phone was being regularly tapped by the union government. She criticised the role of the central government in the snooping row and alleged it was totally aware of the security breach on the messaging platform.
Banerjee described the issue as “very serious” and said she will request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get the matter probed. “My phone is tapped, I know that because I have got the information and have the evidence with me. The government knows it because it is they who are doing it. This is happening at the behest of the central government and two-three state governments. I will not name the states but one is a BJP ruled state,” she said. Earlier also on several occasions, Banerjee had alleged that her phone was being tapped by the central agencies.
The Trinamool Congress supremo further alleged that espionage practise is going on in the country and described the current situation as “quite serious”. “Where is our freedom of speech? Which Independence are we living in now that today we cannot even talk (freely over the phone).
Even if we are talking, they are getting tapped and someone is listening to them,” Banerjee told reporters. “Nothing is safe now, not even WhatsApp. Earlier, we thought WhatsApp can’t be intercepted. But, now even WhatsApp has not been spared. Neither landline phones nor mobile phones are safe. There is total espionage going on (in the country). “This is a very serious matter. I will request the PM to investigate into the matter,” Banerjee said.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Thursday said Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using an Israeli spyware Pegasus. WhatsApp said it was suing NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm, that is reportedly behind the technology that helped unnamed entities spies hack into phones of roughly 1,400 users. These users span across four continents and include diplomats, political dissidents, journalists and senior government officials. Facebook-owned WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users globally, of which India accounts for about 400 million.