• The Package

Decoding the Pegasus verdict

This studio photographic illustration on display in Paris on July 21, 2021 shows a smartphone with the website of Israel’s NSO Group, which features the Pegasus spyware.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Stressing that the power of the state to snoop in the name of national security into the “sacred private space” of individuals could not be absolute, the Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed an expert technical committee overseen by a former Supreme Court judge, Justice R.V. Raveendran, to examine allegations that the Centre used Israeli software, Pegasus, to spy on citizens.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana explained that it decided to refuse the Centre’s offer to appoint an expert committee to investigate the allegations because “such a course of action would violate the settled judicial principle against bias, i.e., that ‘justice must not only be done, but also be seen to be done’”.

Justice Raveendran would be assisted by Alok Joshi, former IPS officer (1976 batch) and Sundeep Oberoi, Chairman, Sub Committee in (International Organisation of Standardisation/International Electro-Technical Commission/Joint Technical Committee). The three members of the technical committee are Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Professor (Cyber Security and Digital Forensics) and Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat; Prabaharan P., Professor (School of Engineering), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, Kerala; and Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair Associate Professor (Computer Science and Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Maharashtra.

Watch | Explained: Pegasus, the spyware that came in via WhatsApp
 

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