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Pegasus Row Will Likely Rock the IT Committee Meeting on July 28

The Standing Committee on Information and Technology, headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, is likely to discuss another issue that could actually create a storm between the parties in the opposition and the ruling party. The issue related to phone tapping has already hit Parliament with a storm and no business has taken place in the last two days.

A week later, the IT Committee, according to an official announcement, will focus on the testimonies of representatives from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Communications (Department of Telecommunications) under the heading “Citizen Data Protection”. And privacy ‘. “

Former Union Minister and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted on Wednesday, “Three trials took place in #Pegas in 2019. The panel heard representatives of the hacking victims and the secretaries of information technology, telecommunications and MHA. This is part of two broader lessons, “Citizen Data Privacy and Security” and “Cyber ​​Security”, in which discussions continue. ‘

The Congress Party and the TMC, in opposition, have taken up arms against the government over phone tapping leaks and Pegasus software.

The names of politicians, media personnel and prominent citizens – who were said to be potential targets of telephone tapping between 2017-2018 – have been leaked through a series of leaks. Many questions remain unanswered, according to the opposition, including whether the Indian government authorized Israeli software to hack the phones of the aforementioned individuals and who paid for the hacking.

Tharoor wrote on an online portal that NSO only sells Pegasus to vet governments and if the Indian government says they did not do it then some other governments did it, which is a serious national security concern. The invasion of Pegasus has been proven in phones tested in India.

Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said the report was a disgrace to India by those who disrupt it. He said, “People have associated this phrase with a lighter nerve with me, but today I want to say seriously – time of selected leaks, disruptions… App Chronology Society! This is the statement of those who disturb the blockers. Disruptors are global organizations that do not want India to move forward. “Politicians who do not want to progress in India are the obstacles. The people of India are very good at understanding this chronology and connection. ”

On Monday, IT Minister Aswini Vaishnav in the chaos dismissed an allegation on the Lok Sabha floor. He was about to issue a self-immolation statement to the state legislature, but was unable to do so due to continued disruption.

The official statement of the Central Government is as follows:

India is a strong democracy committed to ensuring the right to privacy as a fundamental right of all its citizens. To enhance this commitment, the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 and the Information Technology (Intermediate Guidelines and Digital Media Protocol) Rules, 2021 have been introduced to protect the personal data of individuals and to enhance users of social media sites.

The fundamental right to free speech is the cornerstone of India’s democratic system. We have always strived to reach an informed citizen with an emphasis on the culture of open conversation. However, the questionnaire sent to the Government of India indicates that the design of the story is not only a loss of facts, but also one of preconceived notions. It seems that you are trying to play the role of an investigator, lawyer and arbitrator.

Considering the fact that the answers to the questions posed have already been in the public domain for a long time, it also indicates the lack of proper diligence on the part of the poorly conducted research and valuable media organizations involved.

The response of the Government of India to a request for information on the use of Pegasus has been widely reported by the media, and is sufficient to counter the malicious claims of alleged links between the Government of India and Pegasus.

India’s Minister of Electronics and Information Technology has also spoken at length, including in Parliament, saying there is no unauthorized interference by government agencies. It should be noted that there is a well-established protocol for government agency interception, which includes approval and oversight from high-ranking officials in the central and state governments, only for obvious reasons in the national interest.

Allegations of government surveillance of certain individuals have no solid basis or truth.

In the past, similar claims have been made by the Indian government regarding the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp. Those statements have no factual basis and have been categorically denied by all parties in the Supreme Court of India, including WhatsApp.

The news report also appears to be a similar fishing trip based on speculations and exaggerations that denigrate Indian democracy and its institutions.

India has a well-established practice by which legal interference in electronic communication is carried out by agencies at the center and in the states for the purpose of national security, especially in the interest of any public emergency or public security. . Requests for this legal interference in electronic communication are made in accordance with the relevant provisions under Section 5 (2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and Section 69 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2000.

Every case of interference, surveillance and encryption is authorized by a competent authority, i.e. the Union Home Secretary. According to the Information Technology (Procedure and Securities for Information Interception, Monitoring and Encryption) Rules, 2009, these powers are also available to the competent authority within the State Governments.

There is an oversight mechanism established in the form of a review committee headed by the Union Cabinet Secretary. In the case of State Governments, such cases are reviewed by a panel headed by the Secretary-General concerned.

This process therefore ensures that the interception, monitoring or encryption of any information by any computer resource is done in accordance with the proper procedure of law.

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