WHATSAPP PAY REFUTES ALLEGATIONS OF DATA HACKING BY SPYWARE PEGASUS IN SUPREME COURT

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WHATSAPP PAY REFUTES ALLEGATIONS OF DATA HACKING BY SPYWARE PEGASUS IN SUPREME COURT

The American messaging mobile application WhatsApp denied the charges saying that the payment services being provided by the application were neither

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The American messaging mobile application WhatsApp denied the charges saying that the payment services being provided by the application were neither secure nor reliable and that the system could be easily hacked by the spy software Pegasus developed by Israel, before the Supreme Court on Monday. A plea was filed by the Rajya Sabha MP Mr. Binoy Viswam in the Supreme Court alleging the breach of security of the financial data of the Indian users using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) services by America based companies like WhatsApp, Amazon Google. A senior Advocate Krishnan Venugopal, who was appearing for the Rajya Sabha MP Mr. Binoy Viswam raised the issue of the Israeli spy software Pegasus in the court. A bench that was being headed by the current Chief Justice of India Mr. SA Bodbe clearly stated that the allegations made by the Rajya Sabha MP on these applications were very serious.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal who along with being a senior member of the Indian National Congress is also a Rajya Sabha MP, representing WhatsApp refuted these allegations by saying that the allegations made on his client hold no water. He added that there was no pleading in the writ petition and what was being said by the prosecutor was just an oral submission that was made across the bar without any basis. The defendant added that the data localization was another matter in the case. He stated that the problem arises when the data that is being generated upon the payments made through WhatsApp, Amazon, and Google is stored abroad. He further stated the companies abroad are being allowed to access financial data of critical nature under the nose of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This in turn is a clear-cut violation of my right to privacy, being upheld by this very Supreme Court as the data of Millions of Indian Users is being grossly misused as this data is collected by these companies for advertisement. He further stated that all the data generated from India was being shared with their parent companies in violation of the guidelines laid by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Venugopal further argued that the data generated by these applications is eventually processed by the system of the parent company. Even when the case is pending before the court, the Reserve Bank of India has blatantly given WhatsApp a green signal to go ahead and further share the data with other American companies like Amazon, Google, and even its parent company Facebook sans any formal regulation.

The matter has been posted for further hearing in January by the Apex Court after a brief hearing. The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that was being heard by the Apex court was filed by the Communist Party of India Viswam who challenged the permission granted by the Supreme Court to start UPI services. The plea asked for directions to the Reserve Bank of India for framing regulation ensuring that the data collected on UPI platforms were not “exploited” or used in any manner other than for processing payments.

On the 15th of October, the Supreme Court had asked for the responses by the Central government, RBI, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), and others including Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Amazon on the plea.

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