WhatsApp is in Trouble, Due to Allegation of Breaching of Security, Government Asked for Evidence.
WhatsApp asked for a report on allegations of breaching the security after a senior executive of the social messaging platform made a statement that Indians are targeted for snooping by an Israeli company.
Indian Government is concerned about the Indian citizen’s privacy safety from WhatsApp, a messaging platform. Our Indian Government asked WhatsApp to explain and evidence in their defense of breach and what they are implementing to safeguard the millions of privacy of Indian citizens,” electronics and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Twitter.
According to Indian Express reports on Thursday, Almost two dozen Indian activists, journalists, academics and lawyers were targeted for surveillance. After WhatsApp sued NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm on Tuesday then an Indian breach was reported. WhatsApp accused NSO of helping the government break into 1,400 phones across four continents, the targets included journalist’s diplomats, political dissidents, and senior government officials.
Carl Woog, director of WhatsApp communications refused to give out names and numbers, however, revealed that Indian human rights activists and journalists were the targets and while I cannot disclose their identities and their number, I can surely say that it is not an insignificant number.”
WhatsApp filed a lawsuit against NSO, accused of facilitating government hacking sprees in 20 countries.
Prasad tweeted, “Government agencies have a well-established protocol for the interception, which includes sanction and supervision from highly ranked officials in central and state governments, for clearly stated reasons in the national interest.”
NSO declined the entire allegation, stated, “The sole purpose of NSO is to provide technology to licensed government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to help them fight terrorism and serious crime.”
The issue took on a political turn in India after the Congress’s chief spokesman, Randeep Surjewala, tweeted: “Modi govt caught snooping! Appalling but not Surprising! After all, BJP Govt- 1. Fought against our right to privacy”
Prasad tweeted back, saying: “Those trying to make political capital out of it need to be gently reminded about the bugging incident in the office of the then eminent finance minister Pranab Mukherjee during UPA regime.”
“Some statements were made regarding the privacy breach of Indian citizens on WhatsApp. The government is committed to protecting the citizen’s fundamental rights including the right to privacy and central government officials said, government will take strict action against any intermediary responsible for breaching privacy. They also said that the government as per laid down protocols and the law operates strictly. There is adequate safety to ensure that no one’s privacy is breached or harassed at any condition.
After investigating the attack with help from experts at Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity research laboratory based at the University of Toronto, and an NSO employee, WhatsApp also sued NSO Group seeking permanently ban the company from using the application WhatsApp. The company told the court, NSO has sent malware virus to 1,400 mobile using WhatsApp platforms to conduct surveillance of specific WhatsApp users. After failed at breaking the end-to-end encryption which WhatsApp features for security of a user, they used the malware to access messages and communication after they were decrypted.