- SC sets up committee to examine Pegasus allegations Power of state to snoop into people’s ‘sacred private space’ is not absolute: Bench
- Petitioner relied on an investigation conducted by a consortium of global media.
- reports revealed that hundreds of phone numbers from India had appeared on a global list of more than 50,000 numbers that were selected for surveillance by clients of the Israeli firm, the NSO Group.
- October 27, the Supreme Court of India appointed an independent committee to inquire into charges that the Union government had used the mobile phone spyware Pegasus
- July, the West Bengal government set up a Commission of Inquiry comprising
1 .Former Supreme Court Justice Madan B Lokur and2. Former Calcutta High Court Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya to look into the same allegations.
- the judges said , “indiscriminate spying on individuals cannot be allowed except with sufficient statutory safeguards, by following the procedure established by law under the Constitution.”
- Article 21 can be deprived so long as there is merely a “Procedure established by Law".
- this procedural law must be “fair, just and reasonable"
- Court has effectively recognised that an act of surveillance must be tested on four grounds:
1.the action must be supported by legislation;
2. the state must show the Court that the restriction made is aimed at a legitimate governmental end;
3. the state must demonstrate that there are no less intrusive means available to it to achieve the same objective;
4. the state must establish that there is a rational nexus between the limitation imposed and the aims underlying the measure.
- It effectively claimed that the interests of the country’s safety meant that it was under no obligation to tell the Court whether it in fact used the software or not.
- This is a strategy that has worked well in the past.
Recent Steps Taken in India
- Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative: It was launched in 2018 with an aim to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across all government departments.
- National Cyber security Coordination Centre (NCCC): In 2017, the NCCC was developed to scan internet traffic and communication metadata (which are little snippets of information hidden inside each communication) coming into the country to detect real-time cyber threats.
- Cyber Swachhta Kendra: In 2017, this platform was introduced for internet users to clean their computers and devices by wiping out viruses and malware.
- Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C): I4C was recently inaugurated by the government.
- National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal has also been launched pan India.
- Computer Emergency Response Team - India (CERT-IN): It is the nodal agency which deals with cybersecurity threats like hacking and phishing.
1. Information Technology Act, 2000.
2. Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.