The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a committee of experts to inquire into the alleged use of Israeli spyware Pegasus for surveillance of Indian citizens.
A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said the three-member committee will be headed by former apex court judge RV Raveendran.
Citing national security, the Centre had refused to file a detailed affidavit in the matter.
Speaking on the matter, CJI Ramana said, "We live in the era of information...we must recognise while technology is important ..it is important to safeguard right to privacy, Not only journalists etc but privacy is important for all citizens," Live Law reported.
He also noted that some of the petitioners were "direct victims of Pegasus". Stressing on the need for protecting right to privacy, Ramana added that "it is incumbent upon the centre to seriously consider the use of such a technology".
The pleas are related to reports of alleged snooping by government agencies on eminent citizens, politicians and scribes by using Israeli firm NSO's spyware Pegasus.
What is the Pegasus snooping row?
Pegasus is a spyware that was developed by an Israeli "cyber weapons" company named NSO Group. The first time it hit the news was in 2016 when several iPhone users were believed to be targeted by the software to hack them. While iPhone claimed to fix the vulnerabilities that allowed Pegasus to infiltrate its users' devices, the spyware was later reported to also hack Android devices.
Earlier this year, an international media consortium had reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers, including of two ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders besides scores of businesspersons and activists in India, could have been targeted for hacking through the Pegasus spyware of the Israeli firm NSO. The names of several important persons across India were reportedly on the list including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, TMC's Abhishek Banerjee, Union IT Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw, Ashok Lavasa among others.
However, the government has been denying all Opposition allegations in the matter.
(With PTI inputs)