Pegasus scandal may open another front in Poland’s conflict with Brussels

New facts emerged this weekend on the reported abuse of Pegasus software by Polish special services. [Shutterstock / mundissima]

MEPs want the European Commission to investigate the recent revelations concerning the use by Polish government entities of the Pegasus software against a prominent lawyer and a prosecutor. The spying scandal may add fuel to the country’s ongoing conflict with the EU over the rule of law.

Citizen Lab, a watchdog group based in Toronto, reported late on Monday that Roman Giertych, a former education minister and lawyer linked to the opposition, and prosecutor Anna Wrzosek had been victims of surveillance conducted with the use of the Israeli Pegasus software. The organisation stated that the two had their telephones hacked so that it was possible to monitor their activity.

Although the government denies any wrongdoing, the opposition has no doubts that the intention was to attack the government’s critics. “It puts Poland, unfortunately, in the same category as other authoritarian regimes who misuse criminal and technological capabilities for targeting not the bad guys but political rivals,” said MEP Radosław Sikorski, former Foreign and Defence Minister.

“What is happening in Poland is no longer a democracy. It’s no longer a rule of law,” said Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, adding that “the Commission and Council can’t continue to brush this off.” The Dutch EU lawmaker and her fellow MEPs appealed to the Commission to investigate whether Poland, Hungary or other member countries violated EU rules concerning data protection and communication privacy by misusing Pegasus.

Former European Council President Donald Tusk, now the leader of the main opposition party, the Civic Platform, also commented on the situation, referring to a well-known ancient Greek myth. “Pegasus was to help its rider to reach Mount Olympus, but Zeus knocked the guy off to the depths and took over Pegasus,” he commented on Twitter.

(Aleksandra Krzysztoszek | EURACTIV.pl)

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