SC to take up plea for FIR on WhatsApp breach on Dec 2

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The Supreme Court would on Monday take up a plea by RSS ideologue K N Govindacharya for registration of an FIR by the National Investigation Agency against Facebook, WhatsApp, and Israel-based NSO group for violating the fundamental right to privacy of Indians, following reports on breach of mobile phones of more than 121 users here.

He also sought a direction to initiate perjury proceedings against the company for claiming before the top court in a separate case that users data were fully encrypted and no one including WhatsApp has the key to decrypt it.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant would consider the PIL on December 2.

In his plea, he contended the social media company, with 40 crores of Indian users, has revealed that its systems were hacked by an Israel based intelligence company called NSO Group, through Pegasus spyware, in which data of many Indian users were also compromised.

In a hearing on a transfer petition by the Facebook, its subsidiary WhatsApp had submitted before the top court that it was a secure platform, and the situation was akin to a locked room.

“This statement is contradictory to its own filing before the US Supreme Court which states that it came to know about the hacking in May 2019. Thus, it is clear that WhatsApp committed perjury by falsely claiming a protected system and failing to disclose about the NSO hack,” his plea stated.

He contended that interception of the mobile phone strikes at the core of human life and privacy, and thus cannot be allowed without any lawful purpose and process.

Govindacharya further contended internet companies have been violating the privacy of Indian users by taking their data abroad and utilising it for commercial gains.

“In operation PRISM, disclosed in 2013, it was revealed that the top nine internet companies in the world were sharing the data of their users with American intelligence agencies. In the Cambridge Analytica episode, which came to light in 2018, it was shown how Facebook’s platform was used to influence elections all over the world, including India,” he said.

 

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