What is Pegasus Spyware Controversy ?

Over the past few days, we are getting news about the pegasus controversy. So here we are going to make you aware of what is happening all around.

pegasus spyware

What is Pegasus?

Pegasus is spyware created by NSO Group. The ongoing Pegasus controversy has exposed bombshell revelations of a covert surveillance system allegedly used in countries, including India, across the globe to target prominent voices of opposition, dissent and critique.

Who are the NSO Group and what do they do?

NSO Logo

Dan Tynant of The Guardian penned an article that highlighted remarks from NSO Group, where they declared that they provide "authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime", although the Group informed him that they had no knowledge of any incidents.


  • On July 18th, 2021 the scandal on Project Pegasus pulled the dark NSO Group back into public view. Pegasus is a spyware program developed by NSO Group and is a flagship cyberweapon for the surveillance of mobile devices.
  • This piece of malware was spread globally and has been used for direct monitoring of - among others - "nearly 200 journalists around the world whose phones have been selected as targets by NSO clients" as Forbidden Stories reports. Under the pretense of national security, governments across the world have obtained this program in order to put pressure on journalists, activists, and their political opponents.
  • Notwithstanding the present spark in media interest, Pegasus is not a new tool in the international surveillance scene. According to Amnesty International's "Forensic Methodology Report", the spread of Pegasus began as early as 2016 and continues today in 2021.


The current Pegasus controversy has drawn forward numerous new problems which require attention. At the center of the controversy is the activity of affecting the mobile phones of the targeted persons by injecting spyware and then turning mobile phones into individual spy devices for illegally observing upon data and activities of targeted data subjects.

Viewed from one aspect, the said act comes in the grey zone. The organization which develops this software says that it is only providing software to governments and governmental agencies and that too for the purposes of combating terror and crime.


  • All spyware-related activities are illegal in the country under the Information Technology Act, 2000 as the activities of spyware are tantamount to unauthorisedly obtaining computer resources, dishonestly or fraudulently without the consent of the user or owner of the computer resource. The said activity matches a CRIME under Section 66 read with Section 43 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
  • Since spyware programs conduct illegal activities which are offences under the existing law in force, the same constitute illegal acts and in violation of the law.
  • The central government has powers to direct intercept of any electronic information in any computer resource if it is in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above or for investigation of any offence.

Hence, the use of software like Pegasus is going to increase the pandora's box of litigations by affected individuals, who are targeted as a result of misuse of such spyware tools for monitoring and interception purposes. It will be fascinating to see how controversial issues raised by the Pegasus controversy are spouted by various stakeholders in the future times.

Give your thoughts in the comments below. Originally Written by: Himanshu Sharma


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