India Probes Opposition Phone Tap Allegations

Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi accused Modi's government of trying to hack into opposition politicians' mobile phones after some lawmakers shared screenshots on social media of a notification quoting the iPhone manufacturer.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 23, 2019 Indian National Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi looks on during a press conference in New Delhi. India’s Rahul Gandhi on July 3, 2019 resigned as president of the main opposition Congress, taking responsibility for the party’s second-straight landslide defeat to right-wing Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi in national elections. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP



India’s cyber security unit is investigating allegations by opposition politicians of attempted phone tapping after they reported receiving warnings of “state-sponsored attackers”, media reported Thursday.

India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has opened a probe into the complaints, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

“Apple will cooperate in this probe,” S. Krishnan, secretary for the electronics and information ministry, was quoted as saying.

Ashwini Vaishnaw, the information and technology minister, said Tuesday that the government was “concerned” by the complaints.

“The Government of Bharat (India) takes its role of protecting the privacy and security of all citizens very seriously and will investigate to get to the bottom of these notifications,” he said on social media.

Opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi said his staff members had received the iPhone warning message, as well as opposition lawmakers including Shashi Tharoor, Mahua Moitra and Priyanka Chaturvedi.

“The government may do as much phone tapping as it wants, I am not bothered,” Gandhi said Tuesday. “It can take my phone; I am not scared.”

India’s government was accused in 2021 of using the controversial Pegasus spyware technology to surveil political opponents, activists and journalists, claims it denied.

Apple has not commented on the case, but its website explains that threat notifications are “designed to inform and assist users who may have been targeted by state-sponsored attackers”.