Threat to national security: Kapil Sibal on Pegasus ‘snoop files’

The senior Congress leader and eminent lawyer, Kapil Sibal, has said the alleged snooping on the phones of chief ministers, politicians, judges and people violates multiple laws of the country and is a threat to national security.

Sibal termed the act of spying on the phones of the ministers as, “illegal”. Addressing a Press conference, he said “Our constitution says the government should protect national security, but what if our government jeopardised national security?”

The veteran Congress leader warned that if this data reaches other nations or if it is accessed by NSO technologists, then it becomes a “threat” to national security. “For now, only these lists have come. It is possible that in the coming days, it will be revealed that they have intercepted other people too,” he said.

He claimed, “If you have put malware in the phone of a minister and intercepted it, it is in violation of the Official Secrets Act… It is a violation of the Information Technology Act. And if you are doing this to a woman, it is a violation of Section 354D of the IPC (Indian Penal Code). That would be called stalking. It is also a violation of the right to privacy,” he said.

Sibal demanded that the Supreme Court should investigate this and a ‘White Paper’ should be presented in the Parliament. “Union Home Minister (Amit Shah) should say that they have not used this (Pegasus) but he neither admitted nor rejected it. The question arises – who used it if the government and its agencies did not?” he said.

Taking a dig at Amit Shah’s claim that one needs to follow the chronology to trace what he termed as “conspiracy”, Sibal said, “I want to tell Amit Shah that he should understand the chronology since Pegasus was used between, 2017 to 2019. It’s a national security threat to have leaked this data to an agency that has nothing to do with India,” he said.

The snoop files have triggered a stormy start to the Monsoon Session after a global collaborative investigative project revealed that Israeli company NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware was used to target over 300 mobile phone numbers in India.

The Congress on Monday accused the government of “treason” and held Shah responsible for the snooping and hacking of phones of journalists, judges and politicians, and demanded a probe.

BJP leader and former IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad questioned the credentials of those behind the story as well as its timing, coming a day before Parliament’s Monsoon Session that began on Monday, as he accused the Congress of hitting a “new low” in making baseless allegations.

…With IANS inputs

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/threat-national-security-kapil-sibal-pegasus-snoop-files-1502984371.html

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