Human rights group Amnesty International has claimed that they never said a recently leaked list of phone numbers was specifically a list of numbers targeted by the NSO Group's Pegasus spyware.
According to cybersecurity journalist Kim Jetter, Amnesty International, in a new statement, has said the list of numbers was indicative of the interests of the company's clients.
"Amnesty, and the investigative journalists and media outlets they work with have made clear from the outset in very clear language that this is a list of numbers marked as numbers of interest to NSO customers, meaning they are the kind of people NSO clients might like to spy on," Amnesty reportedly said.
"The list contains the kind of people NSO's clients would ordinarily be interested in spying on, but the list isn't specifically a list of people who were spied on -- through a very small subset of people on the list were indeed spied on," Amnesty said.
The list of numbers is at the centre of a controversy that erupted after an investigation conducted by Paris-based organisation Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International found that more than 50,000 phone numbers -- including those of politicians, journalists and activists -- were believed to have been potential targets of surveillance through Pegasus software of Israeli surveillance company NSO Group.
The list of potential targets includes the names of around 300 Indians. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, political strategist Prashant Kishor, over 40 journalists, and two Union ministers were among those whose phone numbers figured in the list.
NSO Group has maintained that the software was only sold to governments and not to private players. The Union government has so far dismissed claims alleging its involvement in the Pegasus spyware issue.
The NSO Group has called the reports "fabricated". "It is not an NSO list, and it never was - it is fabricated information. It is not a list of targets or potential targets of NSO's customers. This is all baseless," NSO spokesperson Ariella Ben said.
Amnesty says never claimed leaked numbers were of NSO Pegasus list