Govt. Orders Whatsapp To Explain Spying Of Indian Journalists; Espionage Spreads To 20 Countries!
The usage of an Israeli malware to hack Whatsapp accounts is much bigger than we anticipated. Govt. of India has asked Whatsapp to explain the spying which happened, and has demanded an answer before November 4th.
Meanwhile it has been revealed that the Whatsapp spying has spread to 20 countries, as diplomats, politicians, activists, and journalists are being targeted and spied upon.
What exactly is happening here?
Indian Govt To Whatsapp: Explain Spying Before Nov 4th
In India, ever since reports emerged that Whatsapp accounts of journalists and activists were hacked, and spied upon, a massive political storm has erupted.
Opposition is blaming the Modi Govt. for unleashing this espionage activity to track and spy upon journalists and activists.
Govt. has strongly denied these allegations, and in turn, have asked Whatsapp to respond, and explain this spying activity.
In a strongly worded Tweet, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said they are deeply concerned about privacy of Indian citizens, and have asked them how will they ensure that such spying activities are contained.
Government of India is concerned at the breach of privacy of citizens of India on the messaging platform Whatsapp. We have asked Whatsapp to explain the kind of breach and what it is doing to safeguard the privacy of millions of Indian citizens. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/YI9Fg1fWro— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) October 31, 2019
Govt. has strongly objected to Opposition’s claims that this ‘surveillance’ has been initiated by them, as they said that these allegations are “an attempt to malign India” and “completely misleading”.
Some of the prominent Indians whose Whatsapp was spied by an Israeli group includes: Bela Bhatia, a human rights activist in Bastar, Chhattisgarh; former BBC journalist Shubhranshu Choudhary; Nihalsing B Rathod, who represents several people in the Elgar Parishad case; Degree Prasad Chouhan, a rights crusader for Dalits and adivasis; Anand Teltumde, a writer, academic and civil rights activist; and Sidhant Sibal, a TV journalist covering foreign affairs and defence.
Whatsapp has already filed a lawsuit against NSO Group, which had created this malware to spy on Whatsapp.
Whatsapp Espionage Spreads To 20 Countries
Meanwhile Reuters has reported that the Whatsapp espionage case is not just limited to India, but has spread to 20 nations.
Reuters has said that most of these nations are US allies, and the persons whose Whatsapp accounts were hacked and spied include Govt. officials, politicians, diplomats, leaders, activists and more.
Reuters said, “The hacking of a wider group of top government officials’ smartphones than previously reported suggests the WhatsApp cyber intrusion could have broad political and diplomatic consequences.”
Around 1400 people are victims, across the globe, whose Whatsapp was hacked between April 29, 2019, and May 10, 2019.
All the hackers did was make a video call to these people. Even if the call was not answered, the malware was able to penetrate the Whatsapp accounts, and hack their chats, video cameras, call recordings and more.
We will keep you updated, as more details come in.