On Opposition’s Threat Claims, Minister’s Questions To Apple, And A Warning

Mr Chandrasekhar said that the government is committed to protecting the privacy of its citizens.

New Delhi:

Hours after some opposition leaders, including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra, claimed that they had received messages from Apple warning of ‘state-sponsored’ hackers trying to access their iPhones, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has posed a series of pointed questions to the tech giant. 

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday, the minister of state for electronics and information technology asked Apple to clarify whether its devices are secure and said the government will also investigate how true the company’s much-vaunted focus on privacy is. 

The minister asked the company to explain why “threat notifications” were sent to people in over 150 countries and pointed out that the company, which is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, had made repeated claims that its products are designed with privacy in mind. 

Mr Chandrasekhar asserted that the government is “committed and duty bound to protect the privacy of our citizens and we take this responsibility very seriously”. He said the government will investigate these threat notifications as well as Apple’s claims of making “secure and privacy compliant devices”. His post had the hashtag “privacy is a fundamental right”.

IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also said that the government “takes its role of protecting privacy and security of all citizens very seriously” and that a detailed investigation had been ordered.

Opposition Attacks

Apart from Mr Tharoor and Ms Moitra, Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Shiv Sena (UBT) and Pawan Khera of the Congress posted screenshots of the messages or emails they received from Apple.

Addressing a press conference, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi Rahul read out Apple’s warning and said party leaders like Mr Khera and KC Venugopal, and several other opposition leaders had received it. Attacking the government, Mr Gandhi said, “Do as much phone tapping as possible, you can take my phone, I am not scared.” 

Apple Statement

In a statement on its technical support page Apple said it “does not attribute the notifications to any specific state-sponsored attacker”. The manufacturer also said that some notifications may be false alarms”.

“It is possible some notifications may be false alarms or that some attacks are not detected,” the statement said. 

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