In a public notice issued on Thursday, the Technical Committee appointed by the Supreme Court, headed by Justice R V Raveendran has inter alia stated that only two persons have produced their mobile instruments for taking digital images.
The Supreme Court had appointed a three-member committee comprising of (i) Dr. Naveen Kumar Chaudhary, Professor (Cyber Security and Digital Forensics) and Dean, National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, (ii) Dr. Prabaharan P., Professor (School of Engineering), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri, Kerala and (iii) Dr. Ashwin Anil Gumaste, Institute Chair Associate Professor (Computer Science and Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Maharashtra and assisted by Mr. Alok Joshi, former IPS officer (1976 batch) who has immense and diverse investigative experience and technical knowledge and Dr. Sundeep Oberoi, Chairman, ISO/IEC JTC1 SC7 (International Organisation of Standardisation/ International ElectroTechnical Commission/Joint Technical Committee).
The Technical Committee had earlier issued a public notice on 2nd January calling upon members of the public who had reasonable causes to suspect that their mobile phones had been compromised due to Pegasus spyware to contact the committee.
On account of the lack of response from the public, the Committee has issued a second public notice on Thursday requesting citizens to come forward to share reasons why they suspect that their devices could be infected with the spyware, on or before 8th February.
The notice states that if the Committee has reason to suspect that the instrument is infected with spyware, the Committee will call upon the person to produce the device.
"When an instrument is produced, a digital image will be taken in the presence of the person producing the instrument and immediately thereafter, the instrument will be returned to the person producing it. A digital image copy will also be furnished to the person producing the mobile instrument", the public notice states.
Journalist J. Gopikrishnan and, according to him, one Rupesh Kumar from Jharkhand are the two persons who have submitted their devices.
Interestingly, news portal The Wire had claimed that "Independent digital forensic analysis conducted by Amnesty International's Security Lab on 10 Indian phones whose numbers were present in the data showed signs of either an attempted or successful Pegasus hack".
It is not clear who these persons are, or why they did not submit their devices for examination before the Committee appointed by the Apex Court, headed by a retired Judge, which follows a very transparent procedure.