Citizens who suspect their devices were targeted by Pegasus spyware can write to the Supreme Court panel formed to investigate the matter, Live Law reported on Sunday. The deadline for submissions is January 7.
Pegasus is a military-grade spyware made by Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO Group Technologies, which is only sold to “vetted governments”. There are allegations that the Centre used Pegasus to spy on journalists, political leaders and human rights activists in the country.
The committee through a public notice issued on Sunday urged the people to write to email@example.com with proof of why they suspect their phone was hacked by the spyware.
“In case the committee feels your reasons for suspicion of the device being infected with the malware compel a further investigation, then the committee shall request you to allow examination of your device,” the notice read.
The mobile device will be returned to the owner after scrutiny.
The Supreme Court on October 27 appointed a three-member technical committee to investigate allegations about the Pegasus software. The committee comprises professors of cybersecurity and computers science Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Prabaharan P and Anil Gumaste.
Multiple petitions were filed in the Supreme Court seeking an investigation into the matter. The revelations have raised questions about whether the Indian government was illegally surveilling on its critics.
In August, the Centre had refused to file a detailed affidavit on the matter, with Solicitor-General of India Tushar Mehta arguing that these matters concerned national security and so could not be disclosed in public.
The court had criticised the Centre, saying that the government could not be given a “free pass” every time a “spectre of national security is raised”.
The surveillance allegations
The list of people who allegedly have been spied on in India include Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, former Election Commissioner of India Ashok Lavasa, Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel, industrialist Anil Ambani, former Central Bureau of Investigation Director Alok Verma and many others.
Responding to the allegations, Vaishnaw, the Union information technology minister, had told Parliament on July 19 that illegal surveillance was not possible in India.
In August, the Ministry of Defence had told the Rajya Sabha that it has “not had any transaction with NSO Group Technologies”.