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Mamata Banerjee targets govt over WhatsApp snooping row

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West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has demanded a probe into the WhatsApp snooping controversy and alleged that the central government was “fully aware” of the security breach.

 

Banerjee alleged that her phone was tapped and she has been targeted by central agencies several times in the past. “My phone is tapped, I know that because I have got the information and have the evidence with me. This is happening at the behest of the central government and two-three state governments. I will not name the states but one is BJP-ruled,” Banerjee was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

 

A WhatsApp official had said former Union minister Praful Patel and former member of Parliament Santosh Bharatiya were among those targeted.

 

 “Where is our freedom of speech? What kind of independence is this? We cannot even talk (freely over the phone),” Banerjee said.

 

She said that people thought WhatsApp can’t be intercepted but it was and cautioned that even “landline phones and mobile phones” aren’t safe.

 

“If the BJP or the government has engaged Israeli agencies to snoop into the phones of journalists, lawyers, activists and politicians, it is a gross violation of human rights and a scandal with grave ramifications on national security,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet.

 

The Congress on Thursday attacked the Modi government over the issue, alleging that it had been “caught snooping”. The Opposition demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the “illegal hacking” of cellphones.

 

Amid the controversy, government asked the Facebook-owned messaging service to explain the breach and list out measures that have been taken to safeguard privacy of millions of Indians. Information & Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the government is committed to protecting the privacy of Indian citizens.

 

Randeep Surjewala, Congress: When WhatsApp sent messages to all those whose phones were hacked, one such message was also received by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

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