India’s Supreme Court has ordered an independent investigation into the government’s alleged use of the Israeli spyware Pegasus on journalists, opposition politicians, and activists.
It follows allegations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government used military-grade spyware. The committee has eight weeks to probe the matter. Chief Justice N.V. Ramana says that the State cannot be given a “free pass every time the specter of national security is raised.”
India was one of 45 countries where thousands of phone numbers were targeted by spyware, which was made by the Israeli firm NSO Group. More than 1,000 phone numbers in India were among nearly 50,000 ones selected worldwide as possibly of interest to the clients of the NSO. The list was leaked to major news outlets on July 18.