We haven’t dealt with firm selling Pegasus: MoD to Rajya Sabha | India News

We haven’t dealt with firm selling Pegasus: MoD to Rajya Sabha | India News

NEW DELHI: The defence ministry on Monday said it did not have any transaction with the Israeli firm NSO, which sells the Pegasus militarygrade spyware which is at the centre of the snooping row currently paralysing the monsoon session of Parliament.
“The MoD has not had any transaction with the NSO Group Technologies,” said junior defence minister Ajay Bhatt, in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Monday. Earlier, information technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had told Parliament that there is no unauthorised interception of phones.
MoD’s reply doesn’t rule out any other agency using spyware
The defence ministry’s response does not, however, rule out any other agency using the spyware that NSO says it sells only to governments and is used for sensitive anti-terrorist operations.
The answer by junior defence minister Ajay Bhattwas was in response to a larger question on the defence budget by CPM member V Sivadasan, who also specifically asked whether the “government” had carried any transaction with the Israeli company. Bhatt replied that the “MoD” had no dealings with NSO Group Technologies.
According to the laws in India, phone-tapping or interception can be done by law enforcement agencies, duly authorised by the Union or state governments, on grounds of national security, public order and preventing incitement to the commission of an offence.
At the Centre, this primarily involves the home ministry and the ministry of electronics and information technology. The defence ministry does not have any law enforcement agency under it.
The snooping controversy erupted after an investigation by a global media consortium based on leaked targeting data claimed evidence that the Pegasus malware had been used to spy on politicians, journalists, human rights activists and others in several countries, including India.

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