New Delhi, November 3: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is among the politicians in India who were targeted on WhatsApp using the Israeli spyware Pegasus, the party alleged on Sunday. The Gandhi scion had received a missed call and a malicious message on her WhatsApp number, similar to other victims of the "snoopgate" in India, alleged Congress' national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. WhatsApp Says ‘Notified Indian Authorities in May’ About Snooping, Assures to Safeguard Citizens’ Privacy.
"When WhatsApp sent messages to all those whose phones were hacked, one such message was also received by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra," Surjewala told reporters, alleging that the snooping was prima facie carried out by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre to spy on its critics.
Surjewala said the government is "running away" on being asked by the Opposition to explain why it allowed the snooping of politicians and Dalit rights' activists. The Congress leader expressed fear that even members of the judiciary, including judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court, may have been targeted.
Update by ANI:
Randeep Surjewala, Congress: When WhatsApp sent messages to all those whose phones were hacked, one such message was also received by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. pic.twitter.com/yIulj78GeY
— ANI (@ANI) November 3, 2019
The WhatsApp snooping case came to light on Wednesday, after the Facebook-owned company said in a statement that around 1,400 users have been targeted through the Israeli spyware Pegasus. Among the victims of privacy breach, include 30-40 Indians, most human rights' activists, the tech giant said.
After the government on Friday asked WhatsApp to explain the breach, the company retorted by claiming that it had already alerted the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) - the state-owned agency - in May. Government sources, however, claimed that the purported alert did not warn about Pegasus and only used "technical jargons".