New Delhi: The NSO Group, an Israeli company that sells Pegasus spyware worldwide, on Sunday (July 18, 2021) refuted the media reports that they have put on surveillance, phones of current Indian cabinet ministers, opposition leaders, businessmen and journalists among others.
“The report is full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories that raise serious doubts about the reliability and interests of the sources. It seems like the ‘unidentified sources’ have supplied information that has no factual basis and are far from reality,” an NSO Group spokesperson said in a statement to Zee Media.
“After checking their claims, we firmly deny the false allegations made in their report. Their sources have supplied them with information which has no factual basis, as evident by the lack of supporting documentation for many of their claims,” the statement further added.
The spokesperson also said that these allegations are ‘so outrageous and far from reality’, that NSO is considering a defamation lawsuit.
The media reports claim that the massive data leak contains a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers from across the world of union officials and government officials, including cabinet ministers, presidents and prime ministers, business executives, religious figures, academics and NGO employees.
However, the NSO said that the claims that the data was leaked from their servers, is a complete ‘lie and ridiculous’ since such data never existed on any of their servers.
“NSO Group has a good reason to believe the claims that are made by the unnamed sources are based on misleading interpretation of data from accessible and overt basic information, such as HLR Lookup services, which have no bearing on the list of the customers targets of Pegasus or any other NSO products. Such services are openly available to anyone, anywhere, and anytime, and are commonly used by governmental agencies for numerous purposes, as well as by private companies worldwide,” the statement read.
As per the media reports, in India, more than 300 verified mobile phone numbers, including two serving ministers, three opposition leaders, over 40 journalists and one sitting judge besides scores of business persons and activists could have been targeted for hacking through the Israeli spyware sold only to government agencies.
Earlier in the day, the Government of India also rejected the media reports and called the allegations false and malicious. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that there has been no unauthorised interception by government agencies.
“Government of India’s response to a Right to Information application about the use of Pegasus has been prominently reported by media and is in itself sufficient to counter any malicious claims about the alleged association between the Government of India and Pegasus,” the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said.
(With agency inputs)