NEW DELHI :
Congress general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra got a breach message from WhatsApp around the same time as other users who were affected, the party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, claimed on Sunday.
“The names of two politicians are in the public domain—(Nationalist Congress Party leader) Praful Patel and (West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief) Mamata Banerjee who has said her phone has been tapped and hacked. As far as I know, when WhatsApp sent messages to all the hacked phones, one such message was also received by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. I can only say this much," Surjewala said at a press conference in the national capital.
At least two dozen Indian journalists, activists, lawyers, and academics were targeted for surveillance, The Indian Express newspaper reported on Thursday. The Indian breach was reported after WhatsApp sued Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group on Tuesday, accusing it of helping government spies break into the phones of roughly 1,400 users across four continents in a hacking spree.
“We care deeply about the privacy and security of our users. We have already contacted the users directly and we have reason to believe they were targeted. Users can contact us within the app and we will respond directly," a spokesperson for WhatsApp told Mint on Sunday.
“The government is committed to protect the fundamental rights of citizens including right to privacy and will take strict action against any intermediary responsible for the breach of privacy," central government officials said on condition of anonymity, adding that the information technology ministry “has been investigating the issue."
Navadha Pandey and Shaswati Das contributed to this story.