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Pegasus: SC Panel Asks Petitioners to Submit Personal Devices for ‘Technical Evaluation'

The panel constituted by the SC to probe the Pegasus row is learnt to have sent out mails to the petitioners, which say that the devices, where the Pegasus software was allegedly installed, will be collected in New Delhi.

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New Delhi: A three-member expert panel constituted by the Supreme Court to investigate whether the Union government used the Pegasus spyware to snoop on citizens has sent out mails to the petitioners asking them to submit their personal devices for “technical evaluation”, the Indian Express reported.

According to the report, the committee has said that the petitioners would also be given the option of “making submissions under oath” before the retired Supreme Court judge Justice R.V. Raveendran-led panel.

The mail mentions that the devices, where the Pegasus software was allegedly installed, will be collected in New Delhi. However, it does not mention the exact address, one of the sources told the daily, adding that “it could be informed later”.

Earlier this year, several news organisations, including The Wire, working on the Pegasus Project revealed that the Pegasus software had been used to potentially snoop on journalists, activists, government officials, and even Cabinet ministers.

The Wire has revealed the names of over 160 individuals – including politicians of the opposition, journalists, a former Supreme Court judge, activists and the woman who had alleged sexual harassment by former CJI Ranjan Gogoi – who had been potentially or successfully snooped upon.

Also read: Locating Pegasus in Doval’s Civil Society as New Frontier of War

A total of nine petitions had been filed on the findings made public by the Pegasus Project. Pleas before the apex court were filed by senior journalists N. Ram and Sashi Kumar, Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas, advocate M.L. Sharma, the Editors Guild of India, activist Jagdeep Chhokar, and Narendra Mishra.

Four journalists – Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, S.N.M. Abdi, Prem Shankar Jha and Rupesh Kumar Singh – and activist Ipsa Shatakshi also moved the top court with three separate petitions, noting that their phones had been hacked into using the spyware and that forensic examination had proved so.

Meanwhile, Apple Inc on November 23 sued the Israeli company NSO Group for the illegal surveillance of iPhone users via the Pegasus spyware, which reveals the enormity of the issue and also has serious ramifications for the SC-led panel.

The Pegasus Project is a collaborative investigation that involves more than 80 journalists from 17 news organisations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories with the technical support of Amnesty International’s Security Lab. Read all our coverage here.