An expert committee which was appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate the alleged use of the Pegasus spyware against journalists, activists and other civilians has sought the public’s inputs on 11 questions related to the issue until March 31, the Hindustan Timesreported.
According to the Wire, some of the questions raised by the panel pertain to the boundaries within which state surveillance of private citizens’ communications are defined; whether provision within the existing laws prevent abuse or misuse of such surveillance; and to what extent immunity may be extended for hacking into digital devices.
The questions also seek suggestions to “strengthen cyber security; setting up a grievance redressal mechanism for a person subjected to state surveillance; laws and safeguards to strengthen cyber security; methods of balancing individual rights with national security interests; ways to strengthen the procedures for state agencies to use surveillance and so on”.
The Supreme Court set up the committee in October 2021 after noting that there had been a lack of specific denial from the union government on whether they had used the Israeli spyware or not. The committee was set up in response to various petitions which had been filed with the court in relation to breach of privacy.
The committee is led by former Supreme Court justice RV Raveendran and comprises Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, the dean of the National Forensic Sciences University in Gandhinagar; Prabaharan P, a professor at the School of Engineering at Kerala’s Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham; and Ashwin Anil Gumaste, institute chair associate professor of computer science and engineering at IIT Bombay.
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