No Pegasus spyware in 29 cell phones examined, other malware found in five: The Tribune India


Tribune press service

New Delhi, August 25

A Supreme Court-appointed committee that investigated the Pegasus snooping scandal concluded that Israeli spyware was not found in the 29 cellphones it examined, even though it detected other malware in five of the phones.

Editorial: Pegasus report

“In five phones, malware was found, but the technical committee said it was not Pegasus,” said a three-judge panel headed by CJI NV Ramana after reading the report that told him been submitted in a sealed cover.

Report of the committee appointed by the Supreme Court

Security, privacy is a concern

Some malware could be misused, causing security issues and infringing on citizens’ privacy. Report by panel

No government cooperation: panel

  • The panel observed that the Indian government had failed to cooperate, said the CJI-led bench, comprising judges Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.

Government attitude is a gift: Congress

The non-cooperation of the PM and his government with the SC appointed panel is an acceptance that they had something to hide. — Rahul Gandhi, President of Congress

Will Rahul Gandhi now apologize, BJP asks

The Oppn attack on the government was a motivated campaign to defame the prime minister. Will Rahul now apologize? Ravi Shankar Prasad

Amending Laws: Committee

  • Changing Surveillance Laws While Protecting Privacy Rights
  • Private Entities Using Unlawful Surveillance Must Be Prosecuted
  • Create a special investigation agency to investigate cyberattacks
  • Strengthen the cybersecurity network

Led by retired SC Judge RV Raveendran, the panel had submitted the report to the higher court last month.

The report has three parts – digital images of phones examined for spyware infection, the report of the technical committee and that of Judge Raveendran who oversaw the work of the technical committee. The bench – which also included Judge Surya Kant and Judge Hima Kohli – quoted the panel as saying the government had not helped it.

Lead attorney Kapil Sibal and attorney Vrinda Grover, representing some of the petitioners, demanded copies of the report, saying they had a right to know what type of malware had been found.

Noting that the technical committee had requested that its report not be made public, the bench said the rest of the report could be downloaded from its website. He adjourned the hearing for four weeks.

Some malware could be misused, causing security issues and violating citizens’ privacy, the report says and suggests some measures to prevent the misuse of any malware for surveillance purposes, including creating a mechanism for citizens to file their complaints against alleged monitoring and infection of their electronic devices with spyware/malware. He recommended changing surveillance laws and strengthening cybersecurity while protecting the right to privacy to prevent unauthorized surveillance. He said private entities using illegal surveillance should be prosecuted.

He said there should be a special investigation agency to investigate cyberattacks and strengthen the country’s cybersecurity network.

Noting that citizens must be protected from privacy breaches, a bench headed by the CJI had set up on October 27, 2021 an independent panel headed by Judge Raveendran, assisted by former IPS officer Alok Joshi and cybersecurity expert Sundeep Oberoi. in supervising the work of a three-member technical committee.

The technical committee included Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Professor (Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics) and Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar; Dr Prabaharan P, Professor (School of Engineering), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, Kerala; and Dr. Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair Associate Professor (Computer Science and Engineering), IIT, Bombay.

The state cannot get a free pass every time the national security specter is raised, the high court had said when the panel was created.

An international media consortium has reported that more than 300 verified Indian mobile numbers have been listed as potential targets for surveillance using Pegasus spyware. It has also been reported that the phones of a former Supreme Court Justice and his clerks were intercepted using the spyware.

A dozen petitioners, including the Publishers Guild of India and veteran journalists N Ram and others, had asked the highest court to seek an independent inquiry into alleged spying on prominent citizens, politicians and scribes using the Pegasus spyware from the Israeli company NSO.

#nv ramana #pegasus spyware #supreme court

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