Pegasus snooping: Israeli envoy says it's India's internal mattertext_fields
New Delhi: Israel's ambassador to India Naor Gilon on Thursday said his country does not allow companies like NSO to sell their products to non-governmental actors while describing the row over the alleged use of the firm's spyware Pegasus in India as an internal matter of the country.
"NSO [Group] is a private Israeli company. I was dealing with it in the past. Every export of NSO or [such companies] needs an export licence of the Israeli government. We grant this export licence only [for] exporting to governments," the envoy said in response to questions on the Pegasus issue at his first news briefing after presenting his credentials.
"This is the only main requirement that... under the requirements, they cannot sell it to non-governmental actors. What's happening here in India is an internal thing for India and I [would] rather not go into your internal matters," he said.
Gilon's remarks came a day after the Supreme Court appointed a three-member committee to investigate the alleged use of Pegasus software to snoop on Indian citizens including journalists, activists and politicians.
The top court had noted that the issues raised in the matter concern "the potential chilling effect" on the right to privacy and said the state's power to conduct surveillance in the name of national security is not absolute.
It also observed the state cannot get a "free pass" every time the spectre of national security is raised and that its mere invocation cannot render the judiciary a "mute spectator" and be the bugbear it shies away from.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the technical committee will go into issues related to the right to privacy, the procedure followed for interception and involvement of foreign agencies in conducting surveillance on Indian citizens.
The Pegasus row erupted on July 18 after an international consortium of media outlets and investigative journalists reported that the phones of Indian ministers, politicians, activists, businessmen and journalists were among the 50,000 that were potentially targeted by Pegasus, NSO's phone hacking software.