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2 Nov, 2023 13:31

Apple’s warning about ‘state-sponsored’ attack linked to Soros-funded NGO – BJP

The notification received by opposition leaders could be an attempt to “influence discourse,” the ruling party’s IT chief told RT
Apple’s warning about ‘state-sponsored’ attack linked to Soros-funded NGO – BJP

A day after over a dozen opposition leaders, public figures, and journalists in India received notifications from Apple that their devices were possibly being targeted by “state-sponsored attackers,” India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged it could be a plot to slander the country's democratically-elected government. 

Opposition MP Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday, calling for action after she and other opposition leaders received a notification from Apple warning about the possibility of government-linked attacks. The notification suggested that they may have been targeted by “state-sponsored attackers,” who could try to compromise their iPhones because of “who you are or what you do.”

India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the agency responsible for responding to computer security incidents, has started a probe into the Apple email alert. A notice has been sent to the company, Indian media reported on Thursday, citing government officials. 

In an interview with RT, Amit Malviya, the head of BJP’s Information and Technology department, alleged that the warning received by opposition leaders on October 31 was linked to American billionaire financier George Soros.

Malviya noted that the email they put out, which cited procedures they could follow to protect themselves, referenced the US non-profit organization ‘Access Now’, founded in 2009 and engaging in defending “the digital rights of people and communities at risk.” 

The NGO is funded by various entities, including George Soros' Open Society Foundations, the Omidyar Network and the German government, Malviya noted as he questioned why a tech giant like Apple had seemingly outsourced its security to a nonprofit organization.

Malviya claimed that the language of the email that was supposedly sent on behalf of Apple was “not a technical email,” opining that it was political and fairly loaded. “That raises questions on whether the Open Society Foundation funded by George Soros is using networks such as Access Now and trying to influence the discourse in various countries, including India,” he said. 

Apple has earlier claimed that users across 150 countries had been sent alert messages similar to what Indian opposition leaders have received. 

Claiming that Access Now has a dedicated network of other NGOs across India that have in the past “put out several media reports that have been needlessly critical of the various agencies in India and the federal government in particular,” Malviya suggested that Apple could be “leaning” on NGOs funded by George Soros, who “fancies himself as a regime change agent.”

Malviya further stated that in the past, big tech organizations have been the “victims of these ideologically motivated groups,” citing the example of Elon Musk-owned X, which was accused of having an ideological bias in its previous incarnation as Twitter. 

“We know how they meddled in American elections, how they had become a tool in the hands of the FBI,” he said, adding that the ‘Twitter Files’ which were put out after Musk took over the platform, “bear testimony” to the fact that there was a lot of “editorializing” that was happening on the microblogging app. 

Are some of these big tech companies now susceptible to this kind of ideologically motivated groups operating out of the West, sponsored by big money and billionaires like George Soros, who have stated their intent of bringing about regime change in countries if they do not suit their wider agenda?”, questioned Malviya. “Is it about destabilizing a democratically-elected government by working in cahoots with journalists, civil rights activists, lawyers, advocates and politicians from the ranks of the opposition?

Describing the process as “dangerous” and “sinister”, he said it is intended to “disrupt democratic orders in countries.

It is not the first time the BJP has raised concerns over Soros’ ties to the Indian opposition. Earlier this year, Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani alleged that Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi was “hobnobbing” with associates of Soros while on his trip to the US. Notably, her statement came in response to police in the southern state of Karnataka lodging a first information report (FIR) against Malviya over a video posted by him on X claiming that Gandhi was trying to “break India” at the behest of foreign powers.

Soros has been openly critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in India. In February, he targeted Modi in a public speech and said he was “no democrat” before going on to claim that Modi and business tycoon Gautam Adani are close allies; that their fate is intertwined.

The comments came in the aftermath of the US-based company Hindenburg Research alleging that Adani Group was involved in accounting fraud. The billionaire’s criticism of Modi drew sharp objections from political leaders affiliated with India’s ruling party, the BJP, with Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar lambasting Soros as “old, rich, opinionated and dangerous."