Whatsapp Payments Will Spy On Users? Petition Filed In SC With ‘Pegasus’ Spyware Fear

Whatsapp Payments Will Spy On Users? Petition Filed In SC With 'Pegasus' Spyware Fear
Whatsapp Payments Will Spy On Users? Petition Filed In SC With ‘Pegasus’ Spyware Fear

 On Monday, WhatsApp denied the allegations about the hacking of its data by Israeli spyware Pegasus in the Supreme Court.

Whatsapp Breach Of Privacy

 Last year, this had led to a controversy over breach of privacy.

According to this controversy, Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities.

The hearing was held before a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

The plea filed by Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam seeking direction to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for framing regulation to ensure that data collected on UPI platforms is not exploited or used in any manner other than for processing payments.

What Are The Allegations?

According to the allegation, WhatsApp data can be hacked by a software called Pegasus.

While senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for WhatsApp said that  none of these allegations are correct. 

Last year, WhatsApp informed about suing an Israeli surveillance firm which is reportedly behind the technology that helped unnamed entities’ spies to hack into phones of roughly 1,400 users. 

The senior advocate Krishnan Venugopal, appearing for Viswam, informed the  bench that RBI has filed an affidavit in the matter and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) should also make its stand clear in the matter.

The hearing was conducted through video-conferencing on Monday.

According to the hearing, Whatsapp needs Additional safeguards as WhatsApp’s security is not up to the mark.

The third point is about the data localisation. 

Data Localization Issue

As the data is being shared by companies like Facebook, WhatsApp and Amazon, which is a breach of privacy. 

The sharing of all this data is a violation of the NPCI norms, according to Venugopal.

Referring to the Pegasus controversy, he said that WhatsApp’s data can be hacked by the spyware.

In the same regard, the Communist Party of India (CPI) leader,  Viswam, has sought a direction to the RBI and the NPCI.

The move was to ensure that data collected on Unified Payments Interface (UPI) platforms is not shared with their parent company or any other third party under any circumstances.

According to the plea, RBI and NPCI have permitted the three members of Big Four Tech Giants’ i.e. Amazon, Google and Facebook/WhatsApp (Beta phase) to participate in the UPI ecosystem without much scrutiny and in spite of blatant violations of UPI guidelines and RBI regulations. 

Due to this, RBI and NPCI put the sensitive financial data of Indian users at huge risks, especially when these entities have been continuously accused of abusing dominance and compromising data, among other things, the plea alleged.

In addition to that, the plea has sought a direction that RBI and NPCI ensure that WhatsApp is not permitted to launch full scale operations of WhatsApp Pay in India without fulfilling all legal compliances to the satisfaction of the court regarding requisite regulatory compliances.

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