20th Jul 2021 12:07:AM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

As promised in the trailer on Sunday that the revelations of Project Pegasus scheduled for an episodic release are going to be super-sensational, the first installment on Monday shows it wasn’t a wild claim. Rahul Gandhi’s mobile number(s) have featured in the leaked database containing over 300 Indian smartphone users that include journalists, ministers, opposition leaders, legal eagles, businessmen, government officials, scientists, rights activists and many others. Significantly, star poll strategist Prashant Kishor, clients of whom are mainly opposition parties, former Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, who was critical of Narendra Modi for violations of model code of conduct in the run up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Ashwini Vaishnaw, the recently inducted minister of Information Technology etc. and MoS, Ministry of Jal Shakti Prahlad Singh Patel have also found a place in the list. The net has been a wide one and the targets were heavyweights, part 1 clearly shows and if the allegations of hacking are proved, a big embarrassment awaits for the ruling Central government.
The exciting drama that is now unfolding will astonish all due to the sheer virtuosities displayed by all those who are involved- the consortium of 17 media groups across the globe including digital media outlet The Wire from India that undertook this spellbinding assignment of exposure running over 6 months in collaboration with Paris-based Forbidden Stories, a nonprofit media organization committed to investigative journalism, Amnesty International, the NGO which allowed its technical lab to be used in the project and Citizen Lab, the digital surveillance research organisation based out of University of Toronto and the spying software itself, Pegasus. Developed by Tel Aviv based NSO Group, the highly sophisticated surveillance software can do ‘wonders’ and with cutting-edge technology, monitor all messages, camera feeds and even microphones. The stolen data are then put for sale to ‘buyers’ for mind boggling fees. It has also been claimed that not only Rahul Gandhi whose two mobile numbers were selected for surveillance during 2019 LS elections, five of his social friends and acquaintances were also placed on the list of potential targets. While the motive of spying on the then Congress chief or Lasava is presumably political and election-related, eminent virologist Gagandeep Kang’s name or of the two ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel in the list is intriguing. Although a 2019 RTI response has been cited by the government to deny any link with Pegasus, the person who filed has now claimed that the response neither confirmed nor denied the use of Pegasus. This leads to confusion and it’s highly relevant to remember that NSO, the spyware’s developer, has categorically asserted that it sells the stuff only to “vetted governments.”
It’s the government ruling the nation towards whom the needle of suspicion stops and none else. A comprehensive clarification akin to a white paper must come early.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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