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Monday
August 2020
11:58 PM IST
News Headlines
NIA arrests six more people and conducts searches at 6 places in Kerala gold smuggling case        Union Minister observes fast as BJP seeks to step up pressure on Ker govt in gold smuggling case        Kerala crosses 25,000 COVID-19 cases as 1,169 test positive        Heavy rains forecast in Kerala this week; Low pressure likely in Bay of Bengal        Shah tests +ve for COVID-19, admitted to Medanta hospital in Gurugram        International passengers with negative COVID-19 test report can skip institutional quarantine: Govt        High time Mehbooba Mufti is released, says Rahul Gandhi        Death toll in Punjab spurious liquor tragedy rises to 104        Trump Says Federal Government Should Seek Death Penalty For Boston Bomber        Khamenei''s top aide praises Turkey''s Hagia Sophia move        IPL GC Meet: Final on Nov 10, Chinese sponsors intact, COVID replacements allowed        2nd ODI: Bairstow, Rashid shine in England''s 4-wicket win over Ireland        Kerala''s COVID-19 tally inching towards 25,000 mark, 1129 ccases, death toll climbs to 82        Kerala police SI dies of COVID-19; first from the force to succumb to the virus        If high command forgives rebels, I will welcome them back: Gehlot        Former SP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh dies at 64        Wild fire: 200 homes evacuated in Southern California        Emirati nuclear plant successfully starts up first reactor        Ready to push for continued advancement of China-Nepal ties: Xi        Some 17,000 people hit streets of Berlin to protest COVID-19 measures        
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National News
Govt wants to conduct audit of WhatApp Security System after NSO espionage
 
New Delhi: The government wants to conduct an audit of WhatsApp''s security systems following revelations of Israeli spyware exploiting its vulnerabilities, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said but refused to say if the government had bought the spyware. The Indian Computer Emergency Team (CERT-In) "has clearly said that we want to audit your (WhatsApp) entire system... we have told them that we want to conduct an audit and inspection of WhatsApp''s security systems and processes," Prasad said in reply to a short duration discussion in Rajya Sabha over the spying controversy.

He, however, did not give a direct reply to Congress leader Digvijaya Singh''s repeated query if the government had bought Pegasus spyware from Isreali firm NSO. To Singh''s question on Home Minister having met WhatsApp officials, Prasad said WhatsApp representatives keep meeting government officials and they "may have met Home Minister as well. After all, WhatsApp has its biggest operations globally in India." WhatsApp, last month, sued Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, accusing it of helping those buying its spyware Pegasus break into the phones of roughly 1,400 users across four continents.

The targets of the hacking included diplomats, political dissidents, journalists, along with military and government officials. In India, 121 users are believed to have been compromised. Prasad said cyber security agency CERT-In had sought information from WhatsApp including need to conduct an audit and inspection of WhatsApp''s security systems and processes on November 9, and further clarifications and details have been sought on November 26, following response from WhatsApp on November 18. Stating that WhatsApp CEO had made no mention of vulnerability in their system by Pegasus spyware during his meeting with the Ministry, Prasad also warned digital players that they must erect appropriate security walls, failing to which appropriate action would be taken.

"During the high-level engagements like meeting of CEO Will Cathcart and VP Policy Nick Clegg of Whatsapp that took place with the Ministry on July 26, 2019 and September 11, 2019, no mention was made by the high-level Whatsapp team regarding this vulnerability," said Prasad in a statement. The Indian cybersecurity agency has also sent notice to NSO group on November 26, 2019 seeking details about the malware and its impact on Indian users, he said. According to Prasad, WhatsApp reported an incident to CERT-In, wherein it mentioned that it had identified and promptly fixed a vulnerability that could enable an attacker to insert and execute code on mobile devices and that the vulnerability can no longer be exploited to carry out the attack.

Moreover, he also said that the government along with USA, UK and Australia is in discussion with WhatsApp to identify the source of the message and videos which have violence. "If there is provocation from any messages or communal violence happens, then you would have to tell the origin, who have started it. We are having discussions with them," said Prasad asserting that they would have to tell the law enforcement agencies about the origin of the rogue message. The minister also said that several of such messages originated from Pakistan. "I want to inform you that several times, many things start from Pakistan.

Due to security reasons, I would not be able to share details," he said. According to the minister, when the discussion was on, NSO espionage happened and this was a coincidence. Prasad also said that the Supreme Court has upheld privacy as a fundamental right. However, the apex court has also stated that a terrorist and a corrupt person has no right to privacy. He also said that there is a need to balance "competing interest of privacy and security" of the country. "In the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, intercepts can be made of the people including their computer resource but this has to be authorised by the home secretary of the government of India," he said.

The minister also informed the Upper House that the work on Data Protection law is on progress and would be introduced very soon in Parliament. Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma asked as whether there has been any unauthorised intercepts by the Government agencies. "Besides authorised, have the government agencies made unauthorised use of this Pegasus spyware. Do you have any information? If yes, then please share the information with the house," Sharma asked. Assuring him, the minister said that any violation of the established procedure in this is "actionable". "To the best of my knowledge, no unauthorised interception has been done," Prasad said adding " If anyone is having a problem, then let them file an FIR."

The Minister also said that India would never compromise its data security. Replying to the concerns raised by the members, Prasad said digital companies are welcome to do the business in India but they would also have to acknowledge and understand that safety and security of Indians are of prime importance. Shanmugam of DMK said that it is a threat to privacy. While MD Nadimul Haque of AITC said that wanted to know that whether the government give permission to the authorities to encrypt the WhatsApp messages. K K Ragesh of CPI M alleged that the government is hiding information on that and asked the government to table a report.


Union Minister observes fast as BJP seeks to step up pressure on Ker govt in gold smuggling case
Shah tests +ve for COVID-19, admitted to Medanta hospital in Gurugram
International passengers with negative COVID-19 test report can skip institutional quarantine: Govt
High time Mehbooba Mufti is released, says Rahul Gandhi
Death toll in Punjab spurious liquor tragedy rises to 104
If high command forgives rebels, I will welcome them back: Gehlot
Former SP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh dies at 64
5,483 new COVID-19 cases in Karnataka, 84 deaths
Mehbooba Mufti''s detention under PSA extended by 3 months, Sajad Gani Lone freed
Truth shall prevail: Rhea Chakraborty on allegations of Sushant Singh Rajput''s family
Priyanka Gandhi vacates Lodhi Estate bungalow
Raj HC seeks Speaker''s stand on plea against BSP MLAs'' induction to Cong
Unlock 3 guidelines: No schools, metro, cinema till Aug 31; Gyms allowed
Those wanting to threaten India's territorial integrity should be worried: Rajnath on arrival of Rafale jets
People must not pay more fares when booking tickets via travel agents on Vande Bharat flights: Govt
Babri mosque case: Spl CBI court completes recording of statements
India''s COVID-19 tally races past 15 lakh mark
Sushant Singh Rajput s father lodges FIR against actor Rhea Chakraborty over his death
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, daughter Aaradhya discharged after testing negative for COVID-19
I don''t care if speaking the truth on China costs me my political career: Rahul
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
My whole life has been a miracle: Rajinikanth
 Mumbai: From starting out as a bus conductor to becoming one of the biggest stars of the: country,  
'Game of Thrones' star Indira Varma tests positive for coronavirus
Coronavirus: Release of Ranveer Singh-starrer '83' put on hold
'Joker' earns Joaquin Phoenix his maiden Oscar
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Trump Says Federal Government Should Seek Death Penalty For Boston Bomber
 WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump says the federal government must seek the death penalty for Bo
Khamenei''s top aide praises Turkey''s Hagia Sophia move
Wild fire: 200 homes evacuated in Southern California
Emirati nuclear plant successfully starts up first reactor
KERALA NEWS
Kerala crosses 25,000 COVID-19 cases as 1,169 test positive
 Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala on Sunday crossed the 25,000 mark in COVID-19 cases as 1,169 more people
Heavy rains forecast in Kerala this week; Low pressure likely in Bay of Bengal
Kerala police SI dies of COVID-19; first from the force to succumb to the virus
Kerala reports 1,310 COVID-19 cases; 3 deaths takes toll to 73
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