Polish Senate votes in favor of a special commission to investigate alleged use of Pegasus surveillance software to spy on opposition politicians

The opposition-controlled upper house of the Polish parliament has voted in favor of appointing a commission to investigate cases of alleged surveillance using the Pegasus system

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: forsal.pl

The Senate voted on Wednesday to appoint a special committee to investigate cases of surveillance using the Pegasus system, with the committee’s first meeting due to be held on Jan. 19.

The chamber voted in favor of forming the commission by 52 votes to 45 with no abstentions. Seven senators will form the commission and all of them will be members of the opposition – no one from the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party will participate as PiS did not even put forward its own candidates.

As proposers in favor of the commission explained prior to the vote, its duties will include: clarification of the disclosed cases of illegal surveillance with the use of Pegasus and related violations, assessment of the impact of illegal surveillance on the election process, and preparation and submission of a draft law reforming the activities of secret services.

In December 2021, Associated Press revealed that attorney Roman Giertych, prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek and Civic Platform (PO) senator Krzysztof Brejza were under surveillance using the Pegasus software. The press agency referred to the findings of the Citizen Lab group operating at the University of Toronto.

According to the group, Brezja’s phone had been hacked 33 times between April 26, 2019 and Oct. 23, 2019. The politician had been the head of the election campaign staff of the Civic Platform at the time.

Weekly “Sieci” recently asked Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jarosław Kaczyński about the recent reports concerning the possibility of opposition politicians being spied on. Kaczyński denied any opposition politicians being put under surveillance using the Pegasus system. He stated that the opposition was once again creating a scandal “out of nothing”.

He assured that Pegasus was a system used by services focused on fighting crime and corruption in several countries and that it was used due to recent “technological changes.”

“It would be bad if Polish services did not possess such a tool,” Kaczyński said, adding that many countries throughout the world use such surveillance programs.

Through his remarks, Kaczyński confirmed that Polish services possessed the Pegasus system, despite some PiS politicians denying it.

Additionally, AP reported that the third-largest group in the European Parliament, the liberal Renew Europe, called for the appointment of a commission to investigate the abuses of EU governments which used Pegasus produced by the Israeli NSO group. Renew Europe claimed that Pegasus was used to hack the smartphones of opposition politicians, lawyers, journalists and critics of the governments in Poland and Hungary.

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