Pegasus: The Political Disrupter

Just a few months back millions of people heard the name Pegasus and most of them were not even aware of what it is and what it can do and how?? Soon all were googling the word and it was a surprise for most of us that it’s a spyware developed by Israeli cyberarms firm NSO group which can sneak and steal information from any device running on iOS and Android. It cashes on the weakness in the system. Once it enters your device it can reach to your photo apps, clicking links, messages, emails, Facebook, whatsapp, Skype, call logs, browsing preferences and many other applications. In short it can take away any kind of information from your device without your knowledge. It can also self abolish itself on command or if it is unable to connect with its control server. It was discovered in August 2016.

In August 2020, according to intelligence reports NSO group sold Pegasus to the UAE and other Gulf states, for providing espionage services, for multi billion dollars . In July 2021 a project called Project Pegasus Revelations unveiled that the spyware is still being used on a large scale. In India , this topic came into limelight during last
parliamentary session when opposition raised their voices as many probable targets names included political leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Abhishek Banerjee, Ashwini vaishnav; social activists like Umar Khalid, Stan swamy; journalists like
Siddharth Varadarajan and many more. According to the opposition parties it was a breach of democracy and the right to privacy . It was sheer chaos during parliamentary sessions whenever the topic of Pegasus was to be discussed. No clear answers were given on the parliamentary platform thus leading to a situation of confusion and uncertainty. Amid all the controversies and political parties blaming each other and debating on prime times, the Supreme Court of India ordered an independent probe into Pegasus. According to the court, a free pass every time under the spectrum of national security is not perishable.


The Supreme Court of India has formed a technical committee of three member comprising Dr. Naveen Kumar
Chaudhary, (cybersecurity and digital forensics); Dr. Prabhaharan P professor (school of Engineering), Kerala and Dr.
Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Associate professor (Computer science and Engineering), IIT Bombay under Justice R V Raveendran, a retired judge of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of India stated that this kind of allegation affects the whole nation as it involves the foreign agencies and countries planting surveillance on the citizens of India, which is a democratic nation, where freedom of speech and freedom of privacy are integral and inevitable rights of the citizens of India.

According to the Supreme Court, the committee formed will process the information to understand whether the spyware suite was or is being used and the purpose of its use beside the issues of national security.

It will also collect the victims or persons and both affected by such a spyware. During the hearing the centre government filed an affidavit stating that allegations are false and as the matter is related to security of the country they wish not make the matter public and also requested the court to allow the committee to be set up by the centre government. But the Supreme Court denied the centre’s request by stating that it will be a biased decision if they allow the centre to make its own committee. Report by the Supreme Court committee is yet to be submitted meanwhile the issue of spyware is not near an end.