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Indian government accused of accessing WhatsApp information

Indian government accused of accessing WhatsApp information

Indian academics and lawyers have accused politicans of spying on the public via communication app Whatsapp.

In the past week, WhatsApp and the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab have attempted to contact the approximate 1,400 telephone numbers that were believed to have been targetted by commerical Israeli spyware in a two-week period in May 2019.

Spyware was reportedly installed onto smartphones through WhatsApp's voice call function. WhatsApp's user base is 1.5 billion users, with 400 million users based in India alone.

Some of the near two dozen alleged victims have accused the government of using the spyware to access calls and messages and spying the victims through the camera, and microphone.

Saroj Giri, an assistant professor of political science at Delhi University, was informed by Citizen Lab that his phone had been targeted.

WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN

“This is a very deeply personal domain that they have intruded into,” said Professor Giri, who researches into the focus of radical communist groups, including the Maoist rebellion in central India.

“Perhaps I was targeted because they think of me as an ideological catalyst, an influencer. I have defended the ideas of communism and I have defended radical movements around the world.”

India's attorney general has told the Supreme Court in a related case that social media companies had "no business to enter the country and carry on if they can't decrypt information for investigative agencies, in cases of sedition and pornography, among other crimes".


Staff Writer

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