Accusations on the Central government suggesting phones and devices of prominent Indian journalists, political leaders including some of their own, and activists were tapped using Pegasus spyware, gave rise to fresh debates on data privacy and potential threat to the democracy. However, it has also unleashed a series of memes and satirical jokes on social media targeting PM Modi and his allies.
Also Read: What is Pegasus spyware?
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also used this opportunity to take a sharp dig at the prime minister. He took to Twitter to respond to his own question asked a few days back about what's the opposition is reading these days.
Rahul wrote, "We know what he’s been reading- everything on your phone! Here's the tread.
Rahul also slammed opposition by posting a graphic image on Instagram representing the journey of a Whatsapp text. The graphic showed a message being sent, received and read. However, the read receipts that are usually reflected in blue colours in the app were presented in saffron colour.
This comes after reports of the alleged cyber misconduct by the Modi government noted that the Pegasus spyware, used for the surveillance, primarily targetted Whatsapp messages of their target.
Several cartoonists including Satish Acharya also launched scathing attacks on the Modi government via sharp and ironical sketches. Here's how they saw the Pegasus scandal.
The controversy erupted when a report published by many prominent news websites, including the Guardian and the Washington Post, suggested that several journalists including 40 Indian news personalities were made the target of an attempted hack. The reports say that over 10 governments, including India's, were involved in surveillance of people using Pegasus spyware.
Pegasus is spyware developed by the Tel Aviv, Israel-based cyber intelligence and security firm NSO Group.
The list of potential targets included Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee's political strategist Prashant Kishor, TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee, and IT Minister Ashwini Vishnaw.
While the Centre has categorically denied the allegations calling them baseless, the controversy continues to cause an uproar in the parliament that led to the adjournment of Lok Sabha for two consecutive days.
Trinamool Congress's Sukhendu Sekhar Ray has also given a notice, seeking suspension of Rules of business in the Rajya Sabha, for a discussion on Pegasus.