Pegasus Spy Case: The government is denying the alleged spying of journalists, opposition leaders, judges through Pegasus spyware. But the opposition’s position is hot on this issue. In the event of no action from the government, it is being said to find a legal option. In this article we will talk about the legal aspects related to the case.
There is a law on phone tapping
In this era of smart phones, the law is lagging behind to protect private conversations or information. After the amendment of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 in 2007, rules were made regarding phone tapping. Under this, phone tapping can be done on high level permission in matters of defense of the country or monitoring of serious crime. After getting permission from the Home Secretary level in a state, tapping of a phone can be done for 60 days. It can be continued for a maximum period of 180 days. This law does not say anything separately about the theft of information entered in various types of apps available in smart phones, leaking of conversations done through calls or messages.
The system related to data security is not ready
The Information Technology Act, 2000 and related rules have talked about the protection of internet data. But the Data Protection Authority of India has not yet been formed to look into such matters. In 2018, a commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice BN Srikrishna submitted a recommendation on data protection to the government. Based on this, the government placed the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in Parliament to protect personal data. Under this, the Data Protection Authority has to be formed. But this bill is still pending with the Joint Parliamentary Committee.
lack of legal options
However, there is a lack of clear legislation on data protection. But if a person knows with certainty that he has been spied through spyware. If he has suffered any loss due to the leak of personal information, then he can give a complaint to the police. The cyber cell of the police can investigate the matter. If needed, the police can also send a notice to NSO, the company that makes Pegasus, for questioning. However, before all this happens, the police will have to see whether a case is being made on the basis of the laws available at present.
High Court and Supreme Court
In this case it is not clear whether people have actually been spied or not. If it has happened, did the government get it done or did any officer get it done on his behalf? Or did a private person buy and use spyware with his own money? Since there is a lack of law on this subject. In such a situation, any affected person can approach the High Court or the Supreme Court. It can be demanded that the court should seek a report from the government. Also, the court should order a fair investigation of the matter on its behalf. In 2017, the Supreme Court has declared privacy as a fundamental right in the Justice Puttaswamy case. Since this matter is related to the protection of fundamental rights, so any citizen can directly approach the Supreme Court.