Issue Brief on “Is India heading towards Digital Authoritarianism?”

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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political arm of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is aiming to convert India into a Hindu- nation state. In this milieu, the government of PM Narendra Modi is using modern technology as a tool to monitor the public to fulfil its agenda and to curb any criticism hurled towards it. The indications are that to achieve its political motives, the BJP is gaining control over the digital lives of Indians by increased surveillance and by creating an atmosphere of digital authoritarianism in the country.

The report released on July 20, 2021, by Washington Post and 16 other news organizations[1] has unveiled the loopholes in digital security in India.  According to these reports, NSO, an Israeli-Spyware group, has targeted not only the heads of states but also human rights activists, journalists, and politicians across the globe. NSO Company claims that it has sold spyware to the vetted governments to monitor terrorism and criminals, however, the recent investigations have ruled out this claim. Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, has said that the Pegasus Project lays bare how NSO’s spyware is a weapon of choice for repressive governments seeking to silence journalists and to attack activists by crushing dissent and placing countless lives in peril.[2]

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