Pegasus row aimed at derailing data protection bill: Meenakshi Lekhi

1 week ago 14
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NEW DELHI: Junior external affairs minister Meenakshi Lekhi on Thursday said the Pegasus controversy was linked to a report of a parliamentary committee headed by her that examined the Personal Data Protection Bill, and was an attempt to prevent such a legislation.
She said the timing of the controversy was to push Parliament into disorder. The report has been submitted to the Lok Sabha Speaker and is ready to be adopted by Parliament.
“Data protection is going to become the law of the land. This is directly related to that. This is to undermine Indian institutions that such kinds of stories are being floated,” she said.
Lekhi said “mythical characters” were created to tarnish the country’s image and cited reports claiming that Amnesty International, the human rights group associated with the Pegasus Project, has said that the snoop list was not actual but indicative, which made it clear that the entire spyware controversy was a non-starter. Amnesty later said it was standing by its original claims.
“This is not a story. This is a non-starter across the globe because it’s based on an evidence-less story. Because that story itself calls for forgery and defamation. Leaked data is an offence and that leads to further complications for people who base their stories on leaked data. It only happens in India,” she said. She said NSO, the Israeli firm behind the spyware, has denied such a list, Amnesty International has denied this and yet the opposition was disrupting Parliament. “Such a narrative is built repeatedly to damage India,” she said.
Asked about the opposition’s query if the government had used the spyware, she said any such security information was classified. Asked if the previous government might have bought it, she said these things were “beyond her pay grade”.

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