10:03 GMT13 August 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): WhatsApp spygate landed the Indian government in hot water in October when Israeli spyware Pegasus was reportedly used to hack the mobile phones of several activists, journalists, and academics.

    The Indian Home Ministry on Tuesday clarified in Parliament that no blanket permission has been given to any agency for the interception or monitoring of phone calls.

    Replying to a question in the Parliament’s lower house Lok Sabha on whether the government taps WhatsApp calls and messages, the Minister of State (Home Ministry) said in a written reply:

    “There is no blanket permission to any agency for interception or monitoring or decryption. Permission from competent authority is required".

    The question was raised by Dayanidhi Maran, an MP from Tamil Nadu.

    The government reply, meanwhile, clarified that the Information technology Act of 2000 empowers both central and state governments to investigate any computer in the interest of Indian sovereignty.

    The statement comes weeks after WhatsApp claimed that Israeli cyber Intelligence Company NSO Group was snooping on Indian activists and journalists via spyware called "Pegasus" that can compromise a device and get access to all of a target's data.


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