My phone tapped, claims Mamata Banerjee as WhatsApp 'Snoopgate' scandal swirls
Kolkata, Nov 02: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday alleged that her phones were being tapped and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take serious note of such incidents of alleged surveillance.
Government is using this Israel NSO to watch the activities of politicians, media persons, lawyers and judges, the IAS, IPS officers, social activists, and other important personalities. This is wrong you cannot capture the privacy. Whatsapp was safe but even now it listens to your talk and your messages are no longer safe. So no landline, mobile phones, and Whatsapp messages are safe. There is spying going on.
"When government works it has to give instructions to its officials and sometimes this work is done after office hours but now when our messages are recorded then how our government will be able to give instructions to officials. I request the Prime Minister to take care of this issue," she said.
Baenrjee's statement came a day after WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging platform, said it had earlier informed Indian authorities about a privacy breach that had targeted several journalists and laywers.
WhatsApp on Friday said it has taken a 'strong action' in the incident and supports the Indian government's stand on the need to safeguard the privacy of all citizens.
Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had asked the Facebook-owned messaging service to explain about the Israeli spyware Pegasus attack on its users worldwide using its platform. The IT ministry has reportedly written to WhatsApp seeking its response on the matter.
"Our highest priority is the privacy and security of WhatsApp users. In May, we quickly resolved a security issue and notified relevant Indian and international government authorities. Since then we've worked to identify targeted users to ask the courts to hold the international spyware firm known as the NSO Group accountable," reports quoted a WhatsApp statement as saying.
On Thursday, the Facebook-owned company had said Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using an Israeli spyware Pegasus, leading to a furore over breach of citizens' privacy.
The surveillance revelations come after the messaging platform sued Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group on Tuesday, accusing it of helping government spies break into the phones of roughly 1,400 users across four continents including diplomats, political dissidents, journalists and government officials. NSO denied the allegations.