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03 Jun, 2023
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Pegasus Surveillance: How Has It Affected India?

Ever since the names of Indian politicians, lawyers, journalists and activists appeared on the list revealed by the Indian media outlet, The Wire, the Pegasus spyware made by the Israeli-based technological firm NSO has been hitting the headlines. The monsoon session of Parliament has turned into a stormy one after opposition leaders accused the central government of not taking any action in the matter. In simple words, the Pegasus Spyware enters your phone and steals all our data without your knowledge. 

It all started when a France based NGO, Forbidden Stories, with the technical support from Amnesty International, accessed a leaked database and revealed a list containing 50,000 phone numbers that were either being spied upon or are potential targets of the Pegasus spyware. The catch here is that as per the Israel firm, the spyware is only sold to ‘vetted governments’ If one goes by the reports published in The Wire, the media outlet in collaboration with Amnesty International has forensically examined the phones of 10 Indians and all of them shows a sign of either an attempted hack or has already been infected by the Pegasus spyware. However, the presence of the phone number in the database does not guarantee that the phone has been infected unless a forensic examination is conducted on the particular mobile device. 

Has The Pegasus Spyware Been Put To Good Use?

Reportedly, the NSO claims that they created the Pegasus spyware so that the Government Intelligence and Law Enforcement agencies can use this to fight crime and terror. They have also claimed that their product has been used to prevent terrorist activities, including gun violence, suicide bombers attacks and car bombs. According to the NSO, the spyware has been used to crack sex and drug trafficking rings, money-laundering operations, and even locating survivors in the wake of natural disasters. 

For example – The Mexican government revealed that they bought the spyware from the NSO group to capture the notorious Mexican drug lord El Chappo.

How Has Pegasus Affected India?

The Wire has published a report revealing the names of 155 people who were targets or potential targets for surveillance by the spyware. The reports have been published under the ‘Pegasus Project’, which includes multiple media organizations across the world. Some of the big names from India on the list are:


  • Sushant Singh
  • S.N.M. Abdi
  • Shishir Gupta
  • Vijaita Singh
  • Ifthikar Gilani
  • Sumir Kaul


  • Rahul Gandhi
  • Prashant Kishor
  • Abhishek Banerjee
  • Pradeep Awasthi
  • Ashwini Vaishnaw
  • Manjunath Muddegowda

Activists, academicians, lawyers

  • Rona Wilson
  • Shoma Sen
  • Nihalsing Rathod
  • Soni Sori
  • Rakesh Ranjan
  • Umar Khalid
  • Saroj Giri
  • Jagdeep Chhokar

CBI officers

  • Alok Verma
  • Rakesh Asthana


  • Anil Ambani
  • Venkata Rao Posina
  • Harmanjit Nagi

You can access the full list here:

Latest Development

Reportedly, the Israeli government has conducted an inspection on the NSO group amid reports of security breaches. However, the NSO Group has said: “The company is working in full transparency with the Israeli authorities. We are confident that this inspection will prove the facts are as declared repeatedly by the company against the false allegations made against us in the recent media attacks,” Meanwhile, many governments are working to look into the matter.

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