‘My phone tapped’: Mamata Banerjee targets govt over WhatsApp snooping row
WhatsApp alleged that an Israeli firm had misused its platform to aid spying on around 1,400 people across the world.Updated: Nov 03, 2019 10:23 IST
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has demanded a probe into the WhatsApp snooping controversy and alleged that the central government was “fully aware” of the security breach.
Banerjee alleged that her phone was tapped and she has been targeted by central agencies several times in the past.
“My phone is tapped, I know that because I have got the information and have the evidence with me. This is happening at the behest of the central government and two-three state governments. I will not name the states but one is BJP-ruled,” Banerjee was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Earlier this week, WhatsApp alleged that an Israeli firm had misused its platform to aid spying on around 1,400 people across the world. In India, human rights activists, lawyers and journalists were among those in who said they were targets of the phone hack aimed at snooping on them.
A WhatsApp official had said former Union minister Praful Patel and former member of Parliament Santosh Bharatiya were among those targeted.
Banerjee alleged that espionage activities are being carried out across the country and said she would urge the Prime minister for a probe into the WhatsApp matter.
“Where is our freedom of speech? What kind of independence is this? We cannot even talk (freely over the phone),” Banerjee said.
She said that people thought WhatsApp can’t be intercepted but it was and cautioned that even “landline phones and mobile phones” aren’t safe.
BJP hit back at the Trinamool Congress chief with party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya saying that is the habit of the Mamata Banerjee government to spy on others.
“It’s the practice of the Mamata Banerjee government to spy on others. Rajeev Kumar (former Kolkata police commissioner) had made arrangements for such snooping,” Vijayvargiya said.
The Israeli software at the Centre of the controversy in question is developed by NSO Group and is known mostly as Pegasus. Technically a malware, Pegasus allows a near-complete control of the target’s phone, enabling access to files, communications and even microphone and camera.