About 20 Tibetan activists, politicians and religious leaders were leaked in a database of 50,000 phone numbers tracked by clients of the Israeli company NSO Group, which developed Pegasus in 2017-19.Telephone numbers of key members of the Dalai Lama's inner circle, including the director of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Penpa Tsering, were among potential targets selected by Pegasus spyware users, according to media reports on Thursday.
The 86-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader does not use a smartphone himself, but some of his family members are possible targets, including New Delhi's special envoy to Tampa tsering, personal assistant Tenzin Takla and his assistant Chhimey Rigzen, Le Monde reports. …A database of 50,000 phone numbers was leaked, in which some 20 Tibetan activists, politicians and religious leaders tracked clients of the Israeli company NSO Group, which developed Pegasus in 2017-19.
The list also includes Gyalwang Karmapa, former CTA Lobsang Sangay or exiled government leader Ugyen Trinly Dorje, who joined in mid-2018, Penpa Tsering, who was elected chairman of the CTA in May this year, and Samdhong, the trustee. The Guardian and Le Monde were commissioned to observe the election of a successor to the Dalai Lama.Paris-based Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International gained access to an expired list that was analyzed by a consortium of 17 media companies around the world.Le Monde and The Guardian report that analysis shows Tibetan leaders have been identified as potential targets by Indian security forces or the Indian government.
The Indian government has so far denied illegal activity and has not endorsed or denied the Pegasus spyware license.Indian officials did not immediately respond to reports that Tibetan leaders were on the list of potential targets for phone hacking. Le Monde reports that for the first time since former US President Barack Obama met with a Tibetan spiritual leader in New Delhi in late November 2017, members of the Dalai Lama's inner circle have been selected to observe. Sangay was the president of the CTA and appeared on the list in mid-2018 when he traveled frequently to India and abroad.However,
the cell phones of the Tibetan leaders were not identified, and it was impossible to determine if they were infected with spyware, which could access the entire contents of the cell phone in order to recover the location information and turn it into an audio or video recorder.Referring to the list of Tibetans, Le Monde reports:" It reveals, as never before, the suspicion of the Indian state vis-à-vis the Tibetan community, suspected of being infiltrated by Chinese spies, as well as its strategic importance at a time when the tension between the two most populous countries in Asia continues to increase."India has every reason to be careful as a Chinese man suspected of spying in India was arrested in India in August 2020 for giving money to a Buddhist monk to provide information on the Dalai Lama's bodyguards.India wants to make sure that Tibetans don’t strike a deal with the Chinese that involves the Dalai Lama going back to Tibet,”
This was reported to The Guardian by an anonymous former CTA employee.China has launched a campaign to spread that it will control the election of the Dalai Lama's successor and that India cannot play that role. This was rejected by the CTA, and in 2020 the US passed legislation sanctioning Chinese leaders for interfering with the Dalai Lama's reincarnation process.
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