An Update on the Pegasus Case

The honourable Supreme Court of India has appointed an expert committee to head the Pegasus Case. Let us start with important terms.

What is the Pegasus?

  • The Pegasus is reported as malicious software. It was developed by an Israeli firm in 2010.
  • It has been allegedly used to monitor and spy on public figures in India.
  • This software is designed to gain access to devices without the knowledge of users.
  • The software was first discovered in 2016.
  • It attacks the mobile phone through a technique called spear phishing.
  • With the advancement of technology, Pegasus attacks can also be achieved by zero-clicks, i.e. the attackers don’t require specific interaction from mobile phones to access the data.

What is the meaning of the Pegasus case?

Under this case, the central government of India is blamed for using Pegasus spyware for keeping an eye on the private life of Indian citizens. The case has been brought into the concern of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s Stand

The Supreme Court is worldwide famous for its unbiased stand and justice. The honourable Supreme Court rejected the government’s appeal to set up its own probe. The court has stated that the government appointment of investigation would violate the settled judicial principle against bias.

What is the latest update in the Pegasus Case?

The court has appointed a committee under a retired Supreme Court judge, i.e., justice RV Raveendran. And, that’s why it is named as Justice Raveendran Committee.

Tasks assigned to the committee

The committee has been asked to read the detailed allegation made by the petitioners. The committee has also been assigned the task to make recommendations on a legal policy framework to protect citizens against surveillance and enhance the country’s cyber security. Listed below are the recommendations highlighted by the Supreme Court to the committee.

Major recommendations highlighted by the Supreme Court to Justice Raveendran Committee

The Supreme Court has highlighted the following significant recommendations concerning the Pegasus case to the committee. The Supreme Court has asked the committee to submit its report and analysis as soon as possible.

  • To concern enactment or amendment law and procedures on surveillance. This step is considered security to the Right to Privacy.
  • In enhancing and improving the cyber security of the nation and its assets.
  • To ensure prevention of invasion of the Right to Privacy.
  • About the development of rules and regulations for state or non-state entities against using such spyware.
  • About the establishment of a mechanism to flag suspicion of illegal surveillance of devices.
  • With setting up a well-equipped independent premier agency to investigate cyber attacks and cyber threats.
  • Concerning any ad hoc arrangements for the protection of citizens’ rights.
  • Regarding any ancillary matter that the committee may deem fit.

Why is the Pegasus or other spyware illegal and harmful?

Any spyware or pirated application is a challenge to the country’s social sphere and economy. The Pegasus application is a risk in the following ways:

Right to Privacy:

The Supreme Court had held the Right to Privacy as a part of fundamental rights in 2017. Such surveillance, whether done by the state or any other entity, is an infringement of that person’s Right to Privacy.

Danger to free speech:

Any such activities are dangerous to the free speech practice of citizens and independent institutes such as the media.

The issue to national security:

The Pegasus spyware is a direct risk to the cybersecurity of the country. It can leak vital information related to an organisation.

A Way Forward

Both sides of the case respect the decision of the honourable Supreme Court. And that’s obvious too; the Supreme Court is worldwide famous for its justice delivery system. The issue of Pegasus is a risk to the safety and security of the citizens. It can be crucial to the cybersecurity of the country. The unsafe data flow is a major reason for data leakage.

The Supreme Court should take required actions in the direction and should punish the culprits. The government of India should also understand the importance of the privacy of its citizens and should try not to interfere with it for unnecessary reasons. In the same instance, it is also understandable that a bit of checking is necessary on the activities of citizens. It is required to check the anti-terrorism and anti-national activities in the country.