Can’t find Tek Fog app on online stores: Centre

Updated on Feb 05, 2022 07:08 AM IST

The Editors Guild of India also sought a probe into the matter by the Supreme Court. Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien also requested the Parliamentary Standing Committee on home affairs for a discussion on the app, saying it could “jeopardise national security”.

Union Minister of State for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar. (ANI)
Union Minister of State for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar. (ANI)

New Delhi: The Union government on Friday said it has not been able to locate the controversial ‘Tek Fog’ application on any online stores and added that it was yet to become aware of the vulnerabilities caused by the app.

Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, minister of state (MoS) for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “Government has noted the news articles about the alleged app ‘Tek Fog’ that has been used to manipulate social media platforms. This ministry has tried to locate the app on prominent app stores and APK stores but could not find the app in any of these online stores.”

The minister was responding to a query put up by Congress lawmakers Dr L Hanumanthaiah, Syed Nasir Hussain and Phulo Devi Netam.

Chandrasekhar added that the ministry was “not aware of technical vulnerabilities” that can make social media intermediaries susceptible to manipulation, as reported by news agencies.

The opposition parties, especially the Congress, had earlier alleged that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)’s IT cell was using the ‘Tek Fog’ app to “penetrate social media with their right-wing agenda, to spread misinformation and target influential opponents”.

The Editors Guild of India also sought a probe into the matter by the Supreme Court. Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien also requested the Parliamentary Standing Committee on home affairs for a discussion on the app, saying it could “jeopardise national security”.

Speaking to HT, lawyer and executive director at Internet Freedom Foundation, an NGO advocating digital rights and liberties, Apar Gupta said the Centre’s response was “fairly evasive”.

“The response suggests that a public search, on a publicly available platform, has been carried out which would not reveal the existence of this application by itself.”

He added that such an app would not be accessible to the general public for downloading given its functionality.

Gupta also recommended that the IT ministry seek further information from the authors of report in news portal The Wire that has released a three-part report after investigating the app for two years.

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