New Delhi, Nov 20: WhatsApp has written to the government expressing "regret" over the Pegasus snooping row, and has assured that it is taking all security measures to address concerns, top government sources said.
The sources, who requested not to be named, said the government has asked WhatsApp to reinforce its security wall, and that no more breaches at the messaging platform will be tolerated.
Last month, the Facebook-owned company had showed that Indian journalists and human rights activists were among those globally spied upon by unnamed entities using Pegasus spyware.
According to WhatsApp, the spyware was developed by Israel-based NSO Group and had been used to snoop on about 1,400 users globally, including 121 users from India.
Following the government's notice seeking more information on the attacks, WhatsApp had responded saying it had alerted the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in September that 121 Indian users had been targeted by Pegasus.
A WhatsApp spokesperson, in an e-mailed statement, said the company is deeply committed to protecting the privacy of its users in India "by providing industry-leading security for all messages and calls and by staying ahead of advanced threats to user security".
WhatsApp has over 400 million users in India.
"The government also plays a critical role here and we are committed to continuing to engage them in a timely manner on sensitive issues related to user privacy and security. We regret that we have not met the government's expectations for proactive engagement on these issues and will strive to do better," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also noted that the company will work with the government to "address their appropriate concerns".
In response to a question in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Cybersecurity agency CERT-In has issued a notice to WhatsApp seeking details on targeting of mobile phones of Indian citizens by Israeli spyware Pegasus.
Let the Truth be known. If you read VB and like VB, please be a VB Supporter and Help us deliver the Truth to one and all.
Bengaluru: Karnataka Municipal Administration Minister K C Narayana Gowda and BJPs Kadur MLA Belli Prakash allegedly indulged in a verbal duel and almost came to blows in the premises of Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state legislature here, over a constituency related matter, sources
The incident took place on the first day of the monsoon session of the state legislature at the makeshift lounge on the first floor of the Vidhana Soudha.
According to sources, Prakash allegedly accused Gowda of being inaccessible and delaying clearing a file relating to his constituency Kadur, that has been referred to him after getting Chief Minister's consent.
This led to a verbal duel between the two and even to a situation where they allegedly "almost came to blows", leaving everyone in the vicinity astonished, an eyewitness said, adding that legislators Satish Jarkiholi, K Annadani, among others, intervened and separated them.
With the incident being reported by the media, Gowda clarified that he objected to Prakash speaking to him in singular in a raised voice and using 'certain language.'
There was no incident like they almost came to blows or any attack on him, as was being stated, he said
"A file had gone to the CM's office and is now at the secretariat. He (Prakash) inquired about it. I asked him to come during lunch hours (to office), let's check...for which he spoke to me in singular in a raised voice... used certain language.
I was pained by it and asked him not to do so...that's all, nothing big about it," he said.
Terming the matter as trivial, the Minister said he would give an explanation, if the Chief Minister seeks any clarification.
When the media tried to question Prakash about the incident, with folded hands he said, it was a "fight between brothers...I'm still growing (in politics)", and walked away.
The incident is also being seen as a reflection of growing discontent within the ruling BJP about the functioning of some ministers, especially those from Congress and JD(S) who were made Ministers after winning on the saffron party ticket, in recognition of their role in coming to power.
Gowda was with JD(S) before defecting to the BJP.