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Dalai Lama’s close aides were potential Pegasus spyware targets: Report | India News


NEW DELHI: The phone numbers of close associates of the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama were selected as those of ‘persons of concern’ by the government clients of the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, reported El guardian.
The numbers of Lobsang Sangay, president of the Tibetan government in exile, and various other activists and clerics who are part of the exiled community in India were also part of the data leaked under Project Pegasus.
The Guardian report said the analysis points to the role of the Indian government in selecting potential targets.
Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli cyber company NSO, allows customers to tap phones and extract calls, messages, and target locations.
The report says that the Tibetans whose names came up in the investigation did not make their phones available to confirm whether any hacking was attempted or succeeded.
However, he added that technical analysis of 10 other phones on the list of suspected Indian customers found traces of Pegasus or signs of spyware-related targets.
The report said that possible “scrutiny” from Tibetan spiritual and government leaders points to a growing awareness in India about the strategic importance of Tibet.
Tibet’s relationship with China has grown strained in recent years, and Beijing often calls on New Delhi for granting the Dalai Lama asylum.
Records suggest that Tibetan leaders were first selected for possible surveillance in late 2017, according to the report.
This was in the period before and after former US President Barack Obama met privately with the Dalai Lama on an overseas tour that also included previous stops in China.
The Dalai Lama, who has spent the past 18 months in isolation at his compound in Dharamsala, is not known to carry a personal phone, the Guardian report said, citing two sources.
Last week, a global investigation published by 17 media organizations claimed that Israeli spyware developed by NSO It was used to target the phones of politicians, journalists, government officials, and human rights activists. The consortium was led by Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, a non-profit journalism organization based in Paris.

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