Letters to BS: WhatsApp snooping is proof of social media vulnerability

In the digital era when social media platforms have become a ubiquitous phenomenon with people leveraging the same for sharing information to spreading fake news, apprehensions over the security of data and the right to privacy of individuals persists. Recent revelations pointing to snooping on scores of individuals from as diverse backgrounds as journalism, law and activism in India by Israeli cyber security firm NSO is one more proof of the growing vulnerability of digital social media platforms to spyware attacks.

The allegation that malicious software Pegasus, developed by the NSO, was used by several countries to snoop on their own citizens points to an ominous trend considering the grave implications for freedom of speech and expression, one of the cornerstones of democracy. Snooping on WhatsApp users has now punched a hole in the argument that the platform with its end-to-end encryption is a safe and private way to communicate.

While it is heartening that the Indian government took cognisance of the serious violation of the right to privacy of its citizens and pledged to take action against those who breached the law, it should assert that the idea of data sovereignty also includes a citizen's right to privacy.

M Jeyaram, Tamil Nadu

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