New Delhi: On the WhatsApp snooping row, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at Zee News' India Ka DNA Conclave on Friday said that the Central Government is committed to the right to privacy of Indians. He also stated that the IT Ministry has written to WhatsApp seeking a detailed response.
The matter came to light on Thursday after the social networking giant Facebook filed a lawsuit against Israeli cyber surveillance firm NSO Group of using WhatsApp to spread its Pegasus spyware to 1,400 mobile devices in 20 countries during April-May, 2019. Some Indian journalists and human rights activists are also among those globally spied upon.
When asked about the snooping row during India Ka DNA Conclave, Prasad said that "people need not worry as the government is committed to their right to privacy."
"There are 121 crore mobile phones in India if there is anything wrong we will take action," he said.
On Congress' allegations that the government is responsible for snooping, the Union Minister stated, "We are responsible for the people of the country not for the Congress."
On Thursday, Rahul Gandhi, who is currently on a meditation visit abroad, added a Rafale angle to the row and tweeted, "The government seeking WhatsApp's response on who bought Pegasus to spy on Indian citizens is like Modi asking Dassault who made money on the sale of RAFALE jets to India."
To which, Prasad responded by saying that the "people have already given an answer to Rahul on Rafale matter. He has always been criticised for it."
"An unnecessary panic has been created on Digital India," he added.
Apart from WhatsApp snooping row, Ravi Shankar Prasad also spoke on Uniform Civil Code and said, "We will not impose Union Civil Code on anybody. There will be a discussion on it."
Meanwhile, on population, he said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept a matter for the people to discuss. There will be a discussion on it. To bring a change in society, there has to be incentive and disincentive."
Attacking the Congress for criticising the government's Article 370 move, Prasad said, "So far Congrees has failed to clear its stand on Article 370."
"Our government is dedicated to the people. In this government, many leaders fought during Emergency for freedom of judiciary, people and press," he added.