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BJP’s IT cell head alleges George Soros link to iPhone hacking row

Published - November 02, 2023 12:45 am IST - New Delhi:

Amit Malviya says the network ‘Access Now’, which Opposition leaders cited to back their hacking claims, was funded by Soros.

Mr. Malviya tweeted a thread on X (formerly Twitter), in which he said the network ‘Access Now’, which Opposition leaders cited to back their hacking claims, was funded by Mr. Soros.  File

The BJP’s IT cell head, Amit Malviya, on Wednesday alleged that the warning message received by several Opposition leaders on October 31, in which the Apple warned them about “state-sponsored attackers” attempting to target their iPhones, is linked to American billionaire financier George Soros.

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Mr. Malviya tweeted a thread on X (formerly Twitter), in which he said the network ‘Access Now’, which Opposition leaders cited to back their hacking claims, was funded by Mr. Soros.

“The Congress-Access Now (the purported tech support provider for Apple) link deepens further. Other than George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, Access Now website lists Omidyar as its prominent donor, along with Ford Foundation, Global Affairs (Govt of Canada) and Govt of Germany as other contributors,” Mr. Malviya said.

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He said Apple incidentally was not one of the major sponsors. Mr. Malviya said people might wonder that what was the Congress link with Omidyar, the other prominent donor, and added that Varad Pandey, who leads Omidyar’s initiative in India, was the special adviser to Congress leader Jairam Ramesh when he was Minister for Rural Development and Environment and Forests.

“Jairam now manages the Congress’s communication and is a close aide of Rahul Gandhi. Does it get any more murkier than this? The Congress is evidently leaning on everyone, from George Soros to Omidyar, to muddy public discourse in a bid to undermine India’s democracy…” Mr. Malviya said.

Centre’s reaction

On Tuesday, over a dozen Opposition leaders and journalists took to X and detailed about receiving email alerts from U.S.-based tech giant Apple, informing them that their digital devices were being targeted by “state-sponsored attackers”. Reacting to this, the Union government said it would launch an investigation into the alerts, though Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw described the Opposition claims of snooping as “vague”.

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Those received the message include Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, Samajwadi Party president and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, and Congress MPs Shashi Tharoor and K.C. Venugopal. Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi told journalists that people working in his office had also received alerts.

In part two of his thread, Mr. Malviya reposted a post of an account named ‘The Story Teller’ who detailed about the Soros link to the Apple warning earlier this year.

“Part-2 of the thread details out the network George Soros funded ‘Access Now’ has built in India. Notification received (from Apple) by the usual suspects in Opposition ranks also refers to Access Now. Only if you believe in fairy tales, would you think it is all a coincidence…,” the post by Mr. Malviya said.

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