Poland’s prosecutor general says previous government used spyware on hundreds of people

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland’s prosecutor general told parliament Wednesday: Powerful Pegasus Spyware It was used against hundreds of people under Poland’s previous government, including elected officials.

Adam Bodnar told MPs he found the scale of the surveillance “shocking and depressing”.

“It’s sad that even in this room we’re talking to people who have been victims of this system,” Bodnar told the House of Commons.

Bodnar, who is also the justice minister, declined to say specifically who was targeted by the spyware surveillance. His office said the information is confidential.

Bodnar was presenting information that the attorney general’s office sent to Seim and the Senate last week. Data revealed that Pegasus was used in 578 cases between 2017 and 2022 and was used by three separate government agencies: the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Military Counterintelligence Agency and the Internal Security Agency.

He said the software had generated “vast knowledge” about the “personal and professional lives” of those under surveillance.

Pegasus is manufactured by Israeli company NSO Group and sold to governments, and is said to be a tool to fight criminals and terrorists. However, evidence has emerged that some governments have used it against political opponents, journalists, and human rights activists.

This spyware gives operators complete access to your mobile device, allowing them to extract passwords, photos, messages, contacts, browsing history, and even activate your microphone and camera for real-time eavesdropping. .

Its use in Poland under the previous government led by the Law and Justice Party led to accusations that authorities were abusing their power and eroding democratic guardrails.

After he took office, an investigation into the use of powerful spyware was launched. donald tusk In December, he became leader of a pro-European three-party coalition government.

The investigation into the use of Pegasus is part of a larger effort by Tusk and Bodnar to restore democratic norms that they believe have been eroded by the Law and Justice Government, which was in power from 2015 to 2023. Trying to.

“The use of Pegasus in recent years has undermined the essence of Poland’s democracy,” Marcin Bosacki, a member of Tusk’s centrist group Civic Union, told lawmakers after Bodnar’s presentation.

Jarosław Kaczynski, Commissioner for Law and Justice, said: he said during his testimony last month. He told the commission that “the use of Pegasus was in accordance with the law” and that it was used against criminals in 99% of cases.

Tomasz Siemoniak, the minister currently in charge of security services, said in an interview with private broadcaster TVN24 earlier this month that the use of Pegasus in Poland is “justifiable” in some cases, including in cases of suspected terrorism and for counterintelligence. However, the argument that there were “too many cases” was not justified.

Mr. Siemoniak said Poland had been stripped of its license for improper use of the software.

Bodnar is also tackling the issue of judicial independence after the previous government overhauled the judicial system to tighten control over the courts.

Law and Justice practices led the European Union to withhold billions of euros in funds, which are now flowing after the change of government.

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