Apple Pressured About Hacking Warnings In India: Washington Post
India-West News Desk
WASHINGTON, DC – A report by The Washington Post says Apple faced pressure from the Modi administration in India to downplay warnings issued to opposition politicians regarding potential government hacking. The tech giant’s October alerts led to a swift response from Indian officials, who reportedly sought to minimize the political impact of the notifications.
According to the Post’s sources, Apple’s representatives in India were summoned by government officials demanding assistance in softening the warnings. Furthermore, an Apple security expert from outside the country was reportedly called to a meeting in New Delhi, where alternative explanations for the alerts were sought.
Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said that The Washington Post’s “terrible storytelling is tiresome, but someone has to do it”.
“This story is half facts, fully embellished. Left out of the story is Apple’s response on Oct 31 — day of threat notifications,” he posted on X.
Apple had clarified that it did not attribute the threat notifications to any specific state-sponsored attacker.
The Washington Post reports that senior officials in Modi’s administration reached out to Virat Bhatia, Apple India’s managing director, urging the withdrawal of the warnings. Subsequently, Apple India sent out emails stating that the notifications were based on “imperfect and incomplete” threat intelligence signals, privately emphasizing to Indian tech journalists that the warnings might be false alarms.
Indian government officials asserted suspicions of an “algorithmic malfunction” and announced a probe into the notifications.
The newspaper highlighted that several individuals critical of Modi or business figure Gautam Adani, with connections to the Indian Prime Minister, received Apple’s warnings. Journalist Anand Mangnale, who previously contacted Adani for comment, had Pegasus spyware planted on his phone within 24 hours of his inquiry, according to a forensic analysis by Amnesty International.