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”.
After tdys “threat notifications” being recd by many people incldng MPs and those in geopolitics, we expectnApple to clarify the following
➡️if its devices are secure ;
➡️why these “threat notifications” are sent to people in over 150 countries ;
➡️bcoz apple has repeatedly…
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@Rajeev_GoI) October 31, 2023
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.
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.”
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.