[dropcap]K[/dropcap]N Govindacharya, RSS ideologue, has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the recent NSO snooping scandal and accusing WhatsApp of having perjured itself before the apex court.
The social media company, WhatsApp, which has crores of Indian users, has revealed that its systems were hacked by an Israel based Intelligence Company called NSO GROUP, in which the data of many Indian users was also compromised. The NSO Group has reportedly stated that it sells its technologies only to Government agencies, the petitioner says.
Govindacharya also pointed that while WhatsApp had submitted before the Supreme Court, during the hearing of Transfer Petition (Civil) 1943/2019, that user data was so secure, the situation was akin to a locked room, for which no one, including WhatsApp had the key, it had in its own filing before the US Supreme Court, stated that it had known about the hacking in May 2019.
“Thus, it is clear that WhatsApp committed perjury by falsely claiming a protected system and failing to disclose about the NSO hack to the Hon’ble Supreme Court”, says petitioner.
According to the petitioner, as per initial reports, mobile phones of 17 Indians were compromised through the Pegasus software of the NSO Group.
“As per new reports, 121 Indian were affected. As per unofficial estimates, the list of affected Indians is likely to go up. WhatsApp has 40 crore Indian users, whose privacy and national security is at stake”, the petitioner claims.
The petitioner has, therefore, sought perjury proceedings against WhatsApp for deliberately misleading the apex court in the Transfer Petition by claiming that users data was fully encrypted and no one including WhatsApp had access to it.
The petitioner has also sought the registration of an FIR against Facebook, WhatsApp, NSO Group under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for violating the fundamental right to privacy of Indians.