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Plea seeking FIR against Facebook, WhatsApp and NSO filed in SC

By Vishal S

New Delhi, Nov 05: A plea was filed in the Supreme Court, on Monday, seeking National Investigation Agency (NIA) investigation and FIR against Facebook, WhatsApp and Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group over snooping by a spyware Peagasus using a loop hole in the Facebook-owned messaging platform.

This comes after WhatsApp revealed last week that Indian journalists and human rights activists were among roughly 1,400 users globally spied upon by unnamed entities using Israeli spyware, Pegasus. The messaging platform had said it sent special messages to all the affected users stating that it had "reason to believe they were impacted by this attack to directly inform them about what happened".

Representational Image

The plea sought action under provisions of Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code for violating right to privacy of Indians. The plea was filed in the wake of reports about WhatsApp's revelation that many were spied upon using a surveillance technology developed by Israel-based NSO Group.

Over the past few days, several social activists in India have come forward and said they had received communication from WhatsApp in this regard.

The Congress alleged that party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was among those targeted in a phone hack aimed at snooping on users.

[Pegasus Spyware row: WhatsApp says it notified India in May][Pegasus Spyware row: WhatsApp says it notified India in May]

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.

Whatsapp said that it had informed the Indian authorities about the privacy breach. 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.

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