Updated: Jan 21
The Pegasus malware has posed new challenges to the government of India and marred its image. The phone-hacking of politically exposed people, Indian journalists, social activists, etc., has acted as a catalyst in the already burning security threat issue. According to the reports published by French NGO Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, Israeli spyware named Pegasus is hacking the phones of around 40 Indian journalists and the leaders and government officials. The NSO is associated with the selling of Pegasus, has referred to all allegations to be baseless and accused the Indian government of being involved in the hacking conspiracy.
The game of vendetta emerged
The issue has relished Indian politics, and political vendetta started. The opposition started demanding the resignation of Amit Shah and inquiry into the role of Prime Minister. Moreover, they also defamed the government in its failure to ensure the national security and welfare of the Indian citizens. BJP replied that there is no single evidence to prove the government's hand in phone detection. On the contrary, the government is not leaving a stone unturned in providing and respecting citizens' right to privacy. Shah also proclaimed that disrupters published the report for the obstructers. Disrupters are the nefarious institutions operating in the Western World and acting as a barricade in India's way to development. Obstructers are the people of Indian Origin only who are obstructing the progress of India. The government is working continuously to achieve national welfare irrespective of what is happening.
What is Pegasus?
Pegasus is the most powerful spyware developed by the NSO (Israeli Company). The company is also responsible for licensing it worldwide, including the national governments of many countries. It hacks the phones by attacking Android and iOS in the case of Apple phones. After entering the phone, it keeps surveillance on the same for 24 hours. It copies messages, records the calls, harvests the photos, keeps on filming an individual secretly through the front camera of a phone, etc. The software completely ruins the privacy of a person. It is a type of the Trojan Horse virus that damages cell phones by "flying through the air". Several countries have used the software to ensure their national security.
Is this the new way of ensuring National Security?
Has the notion of security has changed? The use of spyware to track the citizens of India is hampering their right to privacy. It is a violation of fundamental rights. Government must set up an inquiry commission to look into the matter and punish the offenders for this breach of the constitution. The commission members must not be the judges of the Supreme or High court; instead, the technical experts and Civil Servants should see it. This has diminished the security state of the country. The Parliament is required to make a strong statute on the privacy laws, and offenders must be punished. If the violation of privacy persists longer, the whole idea of a security state will diminish. Government cannot curtail an individual's privacy in the name of the security of the state. Security is meant for the people to serve their interests. Intruding in an individual's life in the name of securing a nation is not an ethical way to provide security. A government must keep an eagle eye on the functioning of any such software in the country.
The idea of security is the core of strategic analysis, and therefore it has been a very long time since the concept has preoccupied the minds of strategists. As realists and neo-realists dominated the domain, they confined the security to struggling for power. As timeless wisdom, Waltz's notion of realism was apt during the war period, but security became much more multifaceted in the post-cold war era. It broke the shackles of only power derivations. The dominance of military security was undermined by incorporating other sectors into the realm of security, with threats stemming from diverse sectors like the environment and economy.
Moreover, the other most crucial thing that acquired the Centre stage has been that the security is no longer mainly about the state but other referent objects, including individuals, also became recognized. Thus, it is evident that the issue of security is no longer so straight that it can be explained by following one principle or another. Since the state has become a hybrid of multi-dimensional interests and objectives, it requires a new approach in its totality incorporating all angles to explain the somewhat more complex issue of security. My research intends to do the same.