Israeli firm influencing Indian election: Congress demands SC probe

Congress alleges ruling party took help from an Israeli firm to meddle with elections in the country

NEW DELHI | Updated: 16 February, 2023 6:56 pm IST
Congress spokespersons Pawan Khera and Supriya Shrinate demanded SC-monitored probe into the matter

A day after a sensational investigation claimed that an Israeli firm allegedly meddled in elections in over 30 countries, including India, Congress demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the matter.

The report, published in The Guardian and Haaretz, reveals that the cyber unit was run by 50-year-old former Israeli special forces operative, Tal Hanan.

It has come to light following an investigation by a group of journalists working for 30 news outlets from various countries who were conducting an investigation into the disinformation industry coordinated with the French NGO Forbidden Stories.

The report claimed that online public influence campaigns were carried out via a software platform, known as Advanced Impact Media Solutions.

The firm was dubbed “Team Jorge” by investigating journalists who posed as potential clients in order to gather information on its methods and capabilities.

Reacting to the revelation, Congress leader Pawan Khera said on Thursday, February 16, “The democracy of India is being hijacked by the ruling BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). To meddle with democracy, the help of an Israeli firm is being sought. They (the BJP) are collaborating with foreign countries to undermine India’s democracy.”

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said that the Israeli group meddled in over 30 elections through false news and bots.

“Its footprint was also found in India. ‘Team Jorge’ claims that they run disinformation campaigns on Facebook, Telegram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gmail and other platforms,” she said.

Hitting out at the government, Shrinate said, “Earlier it was Cambridge Analytica and Pegasus and now, as per media reports, an Israeli firm has been linked to meddling with the elections in 30 countries, including India, through disinformation campaigns, hacking, etc.”

“We want to ask why you are hurting democracy by bringing them to India. Why are disinformation campaigns used to influence people’s voting decisions? “There is no doubt that this is not a democratic process,” she stated.

Shrinate demanded that the government speak on the issue and the Supreme Court probe the matter.

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