The experts on surveillance & policy at IFF write in today's @the_hindu how the systems fail to safeguard the common citizens, and #Pegasus is just one jarring part of a much more dystopian bigger picture.
Full read, by @anushkaj11 and @TanmayPratapS.
"As spyware becomes more affordable and interception becomes more efficient, there will no longer be a need to shortlist. Everyone will be potentially subject to state-sponsored mass surveillance. The only solution is immediate and far-reaching surveillance reform."

"Privacy and free speech are what enable good reporting. They protect journalists against threats of private and governmental reprisals against legitimate reporting."

"The very existence of a surveillance system impacts the right to privacy and exercise of freedom of speech and personal liberty under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution... It prevents people from reading and exchanging unorthodox, controversial or provocative ideas."

"...the existing provisions are insufficient to protect against the spread of authoritarianism since they allow the executive to exercise a disproportionate amount of power."

"In the absence of parliamentary or judicial oversight, electronic surveillance gives the executive the power to influence both the subject of surveillance and all classes of individuals, resulting in a chilling effect on free speech."


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More from @internetfreedom

19 Jul
As #Pegasus trends today, we move beyond sensationalism for truth. In 10 tweets, we verify each statement the IT Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, made before the Parliament today on the #PegasusProject row and surveillance revelations by media groups, including @thewire_in.

1/10 👇
On the number of individuals who were spied upon through #Pegasus.

On whether snooping took place.

Read more here in this report by @thewire_in:….

Read 10 tweets
19 Jul
For over 20 days, Muslim women in India were "auctioned" on a @github platform. But the Islamophobic, misogynist nightmare isn't over just yet, and the authorities can deal with it better. Here's how 🧵
In early July, the issue appeared in the public eye when multiple accounts posted screenshots of the application. It randomly assigned you a Muslim woman as the 'deal of the day'. To say that it was objectifying & demeaning would be an understatement.

As a result of the public outcry, @github removed the application, @NCWIndia took suo moto cognisance, and @DCWDelhi issued notice to the @DelhiPolice. The Cyber Cell of Delhi Police registered FIRs under S.354-A of the Indian Penal Code.
Read 8 tweets
19 Jul
On July 18 '21, @thewire_in as part of the #PegasusProject revealed that 300+ verified Indian mobile numbers were targeted by Israeli spyware firm NSO (of #Pegasus fame), that supposedly sells only to verified government clients.
A leaked database (with over 40 Indian journalists' numbers) accessed by @FbdnStories + @amnesty led to this explosive claim, & forensic analysis confirmed that #Pegasus was used to target at least 10 Indian phones, which included @svaradarajan @paranjoygt @mkvenu1 & others.
The Govt. of India has responded to #PegasusProject inquiries on the alleged hacking, mentioning that any interception, monitoring or decryption carried out is done as per the due process of law.

However, this response is massively insufficient.

Read 9 tweets
18 Jul
According to a July 15, 2021 report published by the @washingtonpost, an Israeli hacking-for-hire firm Candiru has helped government clients spy on more than 100 victims around the world including human rights activists and journalists.

According to a @citizenlab report, Candiru has helped governments in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Armenia and Singapore target dissidents & adversaries.

Candiru’s spyware can reportedly infect ​​and monitor iPhones, Androids, Macs, PCs, and cloud accounts. There are existing concerns in India about the use of similar spyware (Pegasus) supplied by the Israeli firm NSO to target human rights defenders.

Read 4 tweets
17 Jul
India's incoming data laws need our serious attention NOW.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee is all set to table their comments within the next few days, & you deserve to know: What are its glaring issues? How can we make it better? 🧵 1/n #MonsoonSession…
Is India's incoming data law secure? Is it enough? Does it really protect you?

At IFF, we dived into them through #StartFromScratch #DataProtectionTop10 #PrivacyOfThePeople, where we analysed the Bill and looked at how they would affect you — as someone under its purview. 2/n
Now, the recommendations of the JPC will probably be considered, and the Bill itself may be passed. We're keeping our eyes peeled! But the story isn't over just yet.

Due to the cabinet reshuffle, multiple positions lie vacant in the JPC, including that of the chairperson! 3/n
Read 10 tweets
16 Jul
12,368 — that's the number of content removal demands issued to Twitter by the Government of India. No other country has issued as many demands, ever.

The first round of Transparency Reports has been revealed, and this is what we found. 🧵 1/n…
Guess what? 2 million accounts were banned by WhatsApp in 1 month.

Yes, you read that right. 2/n
Here's more: The government issued over 40,300 orders between July and December 2020. This affected over 62,754 Indian users in just 6 months, or an average of 10,000 Indian users every month. 3/n…
Read 6 tweets

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