Won’t compromise on data sovereignty: Ravi Shankar Prasad

The government today asserted that India will not compromise on data sovereignty and it is committed to ensure safety and security of messaging on platforms like WhatsApp.

Replying to calling attention motion in the Rajya Sabha today on reported use of spyware Pegasus to compromise phone data of some persons through WhatsApp, Electronics and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad informed that not a single FIR has been lodged and so far, his ministry has received no complaint in this matter. He said, there are adequate provisions in IT act to ensure safety and security of messaging on various platforms.

Mr. Prasad said, there are standard operating procedures which are rigorously followed by security agencies and authorities for protecting the sovereignty and integrity of the country. He stressed that these standard operating procedures must be followed in the interest of the nation and clarified that no unauthorized interception was done.

He also said, digital players are welcome to contribute to the growing digital market of India but they have to understand that safety and security of Indians is prime importance.

On the snooping issue, the Minister informed that CERT-IN had sent a notice to Israel based company NSO on 26th November of this month seeking details about the malware and its impact on Indian users.

Responding to opposition queries on data protection bill, Mr. Prasad said, work is in progress in that direction and the legislation will be robust in nature.

He also took a dig on opposition members’ questions wondering why journalist, leaders and others questioning the government over reportedly snooped.

Earlier, initiating the discussion, Congress leader Digvijay Singh accused the government of snooping the opposition leaders, journalists, judges and others who are vocal against the present regime.

He wanted to know from the government whether there was any official discussion or deal with the NSO group to snoop them.

Mr. Singh also demanded to constitute JPC to probe the matter. K.K. Ragesh of CPI (M) accused the government of targeting and doing unauthorized snooping against the people who are raising their voice against the government. He said, right of privacy is being compromised. Echoing same view, Md. Nadimul Haque of TMC alleged that government has failed to act swiftly on the spyware issue.

Manoj Jha of RJD wanted a safeguard mechanism to protect the privacy of people on social media platforms. Bhupendra Yadav of BJP appreciated the government move to protect the privacy of the people and said so many steps have been taken by the government to protect the privacy of the people.

P. Wilson of DMK, Ravi Prakash Verma of Samajwadi Party, Veer Singh of BSP, Kahkashan Perween of JDU, V. Vijaysai Reddy of YSR Congress and others participated in the discussion.

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