The use of Pegasus spyware has not yet been approved or rejected by the Central Government. In view of the attitude of the Central Government, the Supreme Court also ordered an inquiry. In addition, the Supreme Court has expressed concern over the possibility of ordinary citizens falling victim to it. At the same time, Congress leader P. Chidambaram said that the country had deviated from the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi that rulers should not be afraid.
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According to the answer given by the Central Government in Parliament in November 2019, the government can legally block the media. Section 69 of the IT Act, 2000 empowers the Central or State Government to monitor, intercept and decrypt the messages produced, stored, transmitted and distributed on any computer or mobile device. It is done for the sovereignty, integrity, security of the country, friendly relations with other countries and for public order and to prevent detectable crimes.
In other words, the government is legally permitted to intercept the electronic devices of individuals or groups suspected of engaging in illegal or anti-national activities. 10 agencies are authorized for this. However, the government has not yet clarified whether Pegasus was purchased and used. It only cites policies in the country that can tap phones and monitor Internet-based services.
Cannot intercept without permission
- Agencies are required to obtain permission in accordance with the procedure prescribed for interception under IT Act.
- This permission was taken on a case-by-case basis, with extensive oversight not previously allowed.
- The approval is given by a committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary at the central level and the Chief Secretary at the state level.
- Permission is two months, the duration can be extended if necessary, but not more than six months.