In another major update on the ongoing Pegasus project, the makers of the spyware program, NSO Group, said the list of phone numbers from India potentially targeted for surveillance is not theirs and called it fabricated information.
The spokesperson of the Israeli technology confirmed to NDTV that the company is not related to the list published by the Paris-based NGO, Forbidden Stories.
The NGO worked with Amnesty International to collect the database of 50,000 phone numbers that triggered this controversy.
"It is not an NSO list, and it never was. It is not a list of targets or potential targets of NSO's customers. Repeated reliance and association of people on this list as potential targets are false and misleading," the spokesperson said, reported NDTV.
The company said it does not have access to its customers' database. However, they are required to provide the firm with such information under investigation. Once there is valid proof about the misuse of technology, the firm will conduct a thorough investigation into the matter, the officer added.
NSO's Official Statement
On Monday, July 19, NSO released an official statement denying the allegations and called the reports by Forbidden Stories and other media outlets' full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories'.
It is also considering filing a defamation lawsuit, it added.
The firm said that it did not indulge in illegal activities and instead was on a life-saving mission. Its technologies are used for 'exposing pedophilia, sex and drug-trafficking rackets, locate missing and kidnapped children, survivors trapped under collapsed buildings, etc.'
The company offered its programme only to 'vetted governments for the sole purpose of preventing crime and terror acts'.
Conspiracy With Left-Wing Organisations
After the news about potential Indian targets broke out, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma alleged Amnesty International of being directly involved in the Pegasus 'conspiracy' along with various left-wing organisations. He requested the central government to ban the activities of the organisation.
The minister said there was evidence against the organisation in the past and claimed it could go to any extent to defame India's democracy.