Kolkata, Nov 01: Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra has criticized the Indian government, referring to it as a “peeping Tom government,” following reports that several opposition leaders, herself included, received warnings from Apple about “state-sponsored attack” attempts on their iPhones.
Moitra, who is embroiled in a political debate over the cash-for-query controversy, expressed her concerns by highlighting that this issue represents a “serious breach of privacy.” She contends that anyone who speaks out against the current BJP-led government becomes a target of surveillance.
Just written to Hon’ble Speaker @loksabhaspeaker on serious issue of surveillance on Opposition members in violation of Constitutional freedoms & rule of law.@MamataOfficial @abhishekaitc @AITCofficial pic.twitter.com/tqmKpgkNew
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) November 1, 2023
Taking the matter further, Moitra wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla regarding the Apple warnings and shared her letter on social media. In her correspondence, she described the Apple warnings as “doubly shocking,” especially in the aftermath of the Pegasus software surveillance controversy that unfolded from 2019 to 2021.
Moitra pointed out that international organizations like ‘Access Now’ and ‘Citizen Lab’ have confirmed and lent credibility to Apple’s threat notifications. She argued that this alleged government surveillance using state actor-exclusive software constitutes a severe violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
The MP further emphasized that opposition leaders and dissenting voices have been targeted in recent years, and the Apple warnings serve as a reminder of the erosion of privacy and democratic values.
In response to the BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya’s claims of a George Soros connection to the Apple warnings, Moitra dismissed the accusation, stating that such allegations make her laugh. Moitra argued that the credibility of the Apple warnings stems from Apple’s reputation as a technology company committed to securing its users’ information.
Apple sent these warnings to individuals and politicians in over 150 countries. However, Apple has also noted that these alerts can occasionally be false alarms.
The “peeping Tom government” accusation by Moitra underscores growing concerns about the state of privacy and surveillance in India, with implications for individual rights and democracy in the country.