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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Pegasus row: What will the SC-ordered independent committee look into?

The Justice Raveendran-headed committee will investigate whether the Pegasus spyware was used on devices of Indian citizens to access or intercept information and the details of victims of such a spyware attack.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
October 27, 2021 1:17:10 pm
The committee was also look into the actions taken by the Centre, following reports of hacking of Indian citizens' WhatsApp accounts using Pegasus spyware in 2019.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered an independent probe into the Pegasus snooping row. A committee comprising three technical members, supervised by retired judge Justice R V Raveendran will conduct a “thorough inquiry” into the matter.

According to the order issued by the apex court, the committee will have broadly two functions — to enquire and investigate, and to make recommendations.

The court has ordered the committee to investigate:

🔴 Whether the Pegasus spyware was used on phones or other devices of the citizens of India to access stored data, eavesdrop on conversations, intercept information and/or for any other purposes

🔴 The details of the victims and/or persons affected by such a spyware attack

🔴 Steps or actions taken by the Centre, following reports of hacking of Indian citizens’ WhatsApp accounts using Pegasus spyware in 2019

🔴 Whether the central or any state government, or any central or state agency, acquired Pegasus spyware for use against the citizens of India

🔴 If any governmental agency has used the Pegasus spyware on the citizens of this country, then under which law, rule, guideline, protocol or lawful procedure was such a deployment made

🔴 If any domestic entity/person has used the spyware on the citizens of this country, then is such a use authorised

The Justice Raveendran-headed committee must also make recommendations:

🔴 Regarding enactment or amendment to existing law and procedures surrounding surveillance and for securing improved right to privacy

🔴 Regarding enhancing and improving the cyber security of the nation and its assets

🔴 To ensure prevention of invasion of citizens’ right to privacy by State or non-State entities through such spywares, apart from that in accordance with law

🔴 Regarding the establishment of a mechanism for citizens to raise grievances on suspicion of illegal surveillance of their devices

🔴 Regarding the setting up of a well-equipped independent premier agency to investigate cyber security vulnerabilities, for threat assessment relating to cyberattacks and to investigate instances of cyberattacks in the country.

🔴 Regarding any adhoc arrangement that may be made by this Court as an interim measure for the protection of citizen’s rights, pending filling up of lacunae by the Parliament

The committee may further investigate or make recommendations on any matter or aspect which it may seem fit or proper in connection with these terms of references.

SC order on Pegasus spyware – The Indian Express by The Indian Express on Scribd

Justice Raveendran will be assisted in this task by Alok Joshi, former IPS officer (1976 batch) and Sundeep Oberoi, Chairman, Sub Committee in (International Organisation of Standardisation/International Electro-Technical Commission/Joint Technical Committee). The three technical members of the committee are Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Professor (Cyber Security and Digital Forensics) and Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat; Prabaharan P, Professor (School of Engineering), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, Kerala; and Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair Associate Professor (Computer Science and Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Maharashtra.

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