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Indian government told about security breach: WhatsApp

November 3, 2019

WhatsApp says it notified Indian and international government authorities about security issues in May.

This statement comes a day after the government sought an explanation from the Facebook-owned company about its failure to disclose the fact that the messaging platform had been misused to spy on around 1,400 people worldwide.

In May we quickly resolved a security issue and notified relevant Indian and international government authorities. Since then we've worked to identify targeted users to ask the courts to hold the international spyware firm known as the NSO Group accountable - WhatsApp statement

WhatsApp also said that it wanted to work with the Indian government to safeguard the privacy of its Indian users. "We agree with the government of India; it's critical that together we do all we can to protect users from hackers attempting to weaken security. WhatsApp remains committed to the protection of all user messages through the product we provide".

The company also said it was committed to ensuring privacy and end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users globally. India has 400 million users.

There are reports that WhatsApp was used to spy on several human rights activists, lawyers and journalists and lawyers in India. Among those spied on were former Union minister Praful Patel and former Lok Sabha MP Santosh Bharatiya. They were spied on by unnamed people using a spyware called Pegasus.

"The Government of India is concerned at the breach of the privacy of citizens of India on the messaging platform WhatsApp. We have asked WhatsApp to explain the kind of breach and what it is doing to safeguard the privacy of millions of Indian citizens," tweetedIT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

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