- Several Indian opposition lawmakers on Tuesday claimed to have received an alert message from Apple Inc., warning the Members of Parliament that their iPhones were being targeted by 'state-sponsored attackers.'1
- The iPhone manufacturer's alert reportedly warned that state-sponsored attackers may be trying to compromise their device and remotely access their sensitive data, camera, and microphone.2
- Opposition leaders and media persons who have received Apple's alert are vocal critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, including Shashi Tharoor of the Congress and veteran journalist Siddharth Varadarajan.3
- Downplaying the allegations of surveillance, India's Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, 'The people who cannot see the growth of the country are doing destructive politics,' as he claimed the alert had been issued to citizens of 150 countries.4
- Meanwhile, the central government has ordered an investigation into the matter, stating it 'takes its role of protecting privacy and security of all citizens very seriously.'5
- In 2021, India was among those nations where the Israeli spyware Pegasus — which can infect smartphones without users' knowledge and access their data — was reportedly being used to snoop on judges, journalists, and opposition leaders illegally.6
- Narrative A, as provided by The Quint. If 'La Affair Pegasus 2021' is anything to go by, the Modi government's urge to spy on its critics is self-evident. The Indian state hasn't been exactly forthcoming on its spyware deals either, despite the massive negative reactions. If the many upcoming state elections and next year's national polls are taken as context, then the matter becomes one of the legitimacies of Indian democracy itself.
- Narrative B, as provided by The Indian Express. India's opposition must stop carping about surveillance every time it runs out of issues to attack the government with. If Apple has warned lawmakers about a hacking attempt, then the company must explain the matter and not the government. The opposition must slow down and cooperate with the probe instead of distracting public attention from the country's progress.