The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with India and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (November 2019)
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On October 30, 2019, WhatsApp's parent company Facebook, Inc. confirmed that Pegasus, a sophisticated snooping software developed by Israel's NSO Group, was used to target Indian journalists, activists, lawyers and senior government officials. The journalists and activists are believed to have been targets of surveillance for a two-week period until May, when the Indian national election was held.
The snooping scandal came out after WhatsApp filed a case in California's Northern District federal court against the NSO group, alleging the NSO group had developed the software used to infect 1,400 target devices with malware.
The IT Ministry of India sought a detailed response from WhatsApp on the issue. They responded that they had alerted the government on two occasions—once in May and for the second time in September 2019. In response to Indian Government's order, WhatsApp informed the Computer Emergency Response Team of India in May and September that Pegasus spyware affected Indian WhatsApp users.
Indian National Congress party alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government has been caught snooping on journalists, activists, lawyers and senior government officials. They later alleged that their leaders, including general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, are also being targeted by this. They also claimed WhatsApp sent messages to different people whose phones were hacked. One such message was also received from the WhatsApp of Priyanka Gandhi a few months ago.