The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Panel to investigate Indian government’s alleged phone monitoring.

India’s supreme court has appointed a panel to investigate allegations that the country’s federal government deployed Israeli military-grade spyware to monitor smartphones belonging to opposition politicians, journalists, civil rights activists, businessmen and lawyers, amongst others.

Reacting on Wednesday to multiple petitions demanding an investigation into claims of widespread illegal surveillance using the Pegasus spyware, chief justice NV Ramana said the three-member inquiry committee would “probe the falsity and discover the truth”.

Rejecting pleas by the government that national security concerns involving surveillance necessitated a veil of secrecy, he said that the alleged violation of privacy needed examining, as it adversely affected people’s rights and freedoms. Snooping on them via Pegasus, Justice Ramana added, could have a “chilling effect” on India’s press freedom.

The court has given the inquiry committee, headed by a former supreme court judge, eight weeks to complete its findings.

In July a group of 17 global media organisations, including the Washington Post, the Guardian and Indian news website the Wire, simultaneously revealed, via the umbrella Pegasus Project, a list of 50,000 telephone numbers that had been identified for surveillance by the Israeli spyware for at least two years, until 2019.

Target

In addition to the numbers of known criminals and terrorists – the intended target of the spyware originally created by Israel’s NSO Group Technologies – were those of heads of state, top politicians, human rights activists, journalists, diplomats, businessmen and others from 24 countries. These reportedly included about 300 Indians.

NSO has denied any wrongdoing, stating the Pegasus software was sold exclusively to military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies of countries with good human rights records.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government dismissed allegations of snooping as “baseless” but declined to say whether it had procured the Pegasus software or not.

Minister of electronics and information technology Ashwini Vaishnaw told parliament in July that all electronic interception in defence of national security had followed due process of law. But he declined to specify whether the government had employed Pegasus for this purpose or executed surveillance – which he tacitly conceded it was engaged in – via indigenously developed means.

India’s solicitor general Tushar Mehta subsequently argued in the supreme court that matters of surveillance could not become subject to public debate.

In response, the court observed that it did not want the government to reveal information regarding national security, but only sought information on whether the smartphones of people other than terrorists or criminals had been spied upon.

CNN speaks to WTA chief on decision to pull tournaments from China.

CNN speaks to WTA chief on decision to pull tournaments from China.

CNN's Erin Burnett speaks to Steve Simon, chairman of the Women's Tennis Association following the organization's statement suspending all tournaments in China, including Hong Kong, in response to the lack of transparency from the Chinese governme...

Top Story with Tom Llamas – Dec. 1 - NBC News NOW

Top Story with Tom Llamas – Dec. 1 - NBC News NOW

The first U.S. case of the omicron variant of Covid-19 has been detected in California, The Supreme Court signaling it may uphold Mississippi’s abortion law in a case that may overturn Roe v. Wade, the 15-year-old suspect in the deadly shooting at...

Blinken Warns Russia Invasion of Ukraine Will Have Consequences.

Blinken Warns Russia Invasion of Ukraine Will Have Consequences.

NATO aims to deter potential Russian aggression toward Ukraine, urges both Moscow, Kyiv to exercise restraint, US Secretary of State says Originally published at -

Gutfeld: Chris Cuomo is a problem, but not the whole problem.

Gutfeld: Chris Cuomo is a problem, but not the whole problem.

‘Gutfeld’ panel discusses Chris Cuomo addressing his suspension. #FoxNews #Gutfeld Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service delivering breaking...

Kurdish Family Laments Young Migrant Daughter Drowned in English Channel.

Kurdish Family Laments Young Migrant Daughter Drowned in English Channel.

VOA speaks to the family of a 24-year-old Kurdish woman Baran Nuri Hamadamin is among 27 people who drowned in English Channel last week as they tried to cross from France to the UK via an inflatable boat Originally published at -

Justice Sotomayor wonders if protecting life is 'a religious view'.

Justice Sotomayor wonders if protecting life is 'a religious view'.

Sen. Cruz tells 'The Ingraham Angle' today's Democratic Party supports unlimited abortion on demand. Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service d...