The Central Government has ordered an investigation into Opposition MPs’ assertions that they received warnings of attempts being made by “State-sponsored attackers” to steal information from their iPhones.
“The Government of Bharat takes its role of protecting the privacy and security of all citizens very seriously and will investigate to get to the bottom of these notifications... In light of such information and widespread speculation, we have also asked Apple to join the investigation with real, accurate information on the alleged State-sponsored attacks,” Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister forf Telecommunications and Information Technology, said.
He said that the notification received by some of the MPs, as per media reports, mentions about ‘State-sponsored attacks’ on their devices, but much of the information from Apple on this issue seems vague and non-specific in nature.
“Apple states these notifications maybe based on information which is ‘incomplete or imperfect’. It also states that some Apple threat notifications maybe false alarms or some attacks are not detected... We are concerned by the statements we have seen in media from some MPs as well as others about a notification received by them from Apple,” he said.
He further added that, “Apple has also claimed that Apple IDs are securely encrypted on devices, making it extremely difficult to access or identify them without the user’s explicit permission. This encryption safeguards the user’s Apple ID and ensures that it remains private and protected.”
Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, in a post on X (formerly Twitter), questioned that if Apple devices are secure, why do these “threat notifications” are sent to people in over 150 countries, because Apple has repeatedly claimed their products are designed for privacy.
“Our government is committed and duty-bound to protect privacy of our citizens and we take this responsibility very seriously. Government will investigate these threat notifications and also apples claims of being secure and privacy compliant devices,” Chandrasekhar added.
Meanwhile, social activists have raised questions on the frequent leakage of information on the internet in the recent past and questioned if the Digital Public Infrastructure being built in India is safe.
“Yesterday, personal data (Aadhaar, passport details, names, phone numbers, addresses) of 81.5 crore Indians was leaked by ICMR. Later at night Apple sent threat notifications of State-sponsored attacks to Opposition MPs. Meanwhile, there is a continuing five-month internet shutdown in Manipur. At all levels of governance, there is incompetence, threat and bluster,” Apart Gupta, an advocate and Founder Director of the Internet Freedom Foundation, said on X.