Protection-of-Rights-to-Privacy-and-Social-Media-iastoppers
AIR Summary

All India Radio: Spotlight-News Analysis – Protection of Rights to Privacy and Social Media

Facebook and WhatsApp have admitted that Indian journalist and human right activist were among those globally spied by unnamed entity using an Israeli spyware ‘Pegasus’. WhatsApp has said that it is suing NSO group that is reportedly behind the technology that help unnamed entities spies hack into phones of around 1400 users spanning across four continents.
By IASToppers
November 14, 2019

Contents

  • How safe the WhatsApp to use? Is it hackable despite end-to-end encryption?
  • Should users be worried?
  • Top what extent the information was compromised under ‘Pegasus’ incident?
  • What questions are raised about the privacy of an individual and also on the role of government agencies?
  • Is Privacy a myth in digital world?
  • What can the government do?
  • Is there any need to bring more accountability to the social media?

Protection of Rights to Privacy and Social Media

How safe the WhatsApp to use? Is it hackable despite end-to-end encryption?

  • The 100% security is always a myth. There is nothing in the cyber world which can be fully secured and so far this end-to-end encryption is concerned which means the encryption of messages only during the transit of the data when data travels from one person to another.
  • The source and destination is not encrypted. Therefore, if the sending or receiving mobile sets are compromised then the end-to-end encryption doesn’t matter or work. When the data is lying in the mobile then it is possible to hack the messages or information therein.

Should users be worried?

  • The users should be worried not because of the Pegasus controversy but because of the reason that there are many malicious apps in the playstore or internet which can easily steal the data from the phones and the phone could be easily be turned into the spy phones.
  • This is again a wakeup call that we should not click on the ‘unknown links’ or attach the unknown people or download the random available apps.

To what extent the information was compromised under ‘Pegasus’ incident?

  • Anything and everything on the device was caught by the spyware.
  • WhatsApp claims that due to ‘Pegasus’ incident, information of around 1400 people across the globe was compromised and out of that 15 were from India.
  • The recent reports suggest thatnumber of defence personnel and government officials who were targeted could be more than thought.
  • The petition was filed by the WhatsApp against the NSO group set up in California is an eye opener where the surveillance developer has been sued but the entities that used the tool are not covered and excluded.
  • The WhatsApp is trying to pass a judgement in this case but it is not the duty of the WhatsApp or Facebook to decide and the decision has to be made according to the national law.

What questions are raised about the privacy of an individual and also on the role of government agencies?

  • Even though the individual privacy is necessary, there has to be balance between the national security and individual privacy.
  • Today, the collective privacy of the nation is superior than the individual privacy. We as a collective society should seek certain amount of privacy for the nation so that the society remains safe and sound.
  • Governments across the world, law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies across the world are bonafide users of surveillance technology. It is their national laws which defines how the tools are to be used, what level of accountability is there.
  • The WhatsApp decided not to inform the Indian government or other countries which also raises a question on their intention.
  • There is no proof also that the Indian victims were targeted by the Indian government which is is being said by some people.
  • The entire incident has become a scandalous because Jamal Khashoggi journalist was murdered inside the Saudi embassy in Turkey. His friend and colleagues were also using the same software.
  • India has integrity and enough mechanism in place to investigate the matter.

Is Privacy a myth in digital world?

  • Yes, it is a myth.
  • People are happily sharing the data with Facebook and WhatsApp and other companies but when the government asks for the consent of people for collecting their personal data due to security reasons, people raise the question of privacy.
  • We should understand this situation and logically analyse about the real dangers.

What are the intentions of WhatsApp?

  • They do not want to share the data with the government.
  • They want to dominate the digital space by taking individual decision.
  • They do not want the new player to enter the field.

What can users do?

  • Ask for professional help for checking the phone as even with high phone safety features advanced virus and malwares can hack the information. Therefore, professional help is required.

What the can government do?

  • There is an immediate need of ‘Data protection Law’ but first there is a need to create some kind of ‘constitutional mechanism’ to have some kind of parliamentary judicial oversight on the entire surveillance agencies of India.

Is there any need to bring more accountability to the social media?

  • Yes, government of India is in full right to put accountability on these social media platforms. We should have a very strong mechanism so that nothing goes wrong and if that happens then appropriate steps could be taken.

 

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