Emphasizing that state power to act on behalf of national security cannot completely be on the cost of compromising the ‘Right to Privacy’ of citizens, the Supreme Court has appointed a specialist committee of experts headed by former Supreme Court judge R.V. Raveendran to investigate allegations that the Central Government used Israeli software Pegasus to spy on citizens.
What is the problem:
Petitioners have complained about the misuse of spyware software ‘Pegasus’ by the Government of India to get hold of their personal information, that directly infringes on the privacy of citizens, which is a fundamental right under article 21 of the Indian Constitution as declared by SC in KS Puttaswamy Case.
Continued use of spyware Pegasus in India which is made by an Israeli company that sells it only to governments around the world, has been confirmed by various non-official reports.
Also, it is alleged that the Pegasus Software has apparently been updated and now comes with new monitoring capabilities.
What is Pegasus:
It is a spyware tool developed by an Israeli company, NSO Group.
It is used to spy on people through their phones.
Pegasus works by sending an exploit link, and when the target user clicks on the link, a malicious computer program or a software code is installed on the user's phone which allows to do the surveillance of the user.
Once Pegasus is installed, the attacker has full access to the target user's phone.
What can Pegasus do:
Pegasus "can retrieve targeted personal data, including passwords, contacts, calendar events, text messages, and live voice calls from popular mobile messaging apps".
The target's phone camera and microphone can be turned on to capture all activities close to the phone, thus increasing the range of surveillance.