Poland’s Senate: Government’s use of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware illegal

Poland’s Senate Commission has ruled the government’s use of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware illegal.

Avast, Person, Security, Bridge

A special commission within Poland’s Senate has officially declared the government’s use of spyware, specifically NSO Group’s Pegasus, illegal. The commission’s announcement comes after an 18-month investigation into allegations of the Polish government employing Pegasus to surveil opposition politicians, including during the country’s 2019 elections.

The commission’s report, translated by a machine, states that ‘Pegasus cannot be used under Polish law’ due to the Polish legal system’s prohibition of programs that transmit operational data through uncontrolled transmission channels. This practice poses a risk to data integrity and fails to guarantee the necessary confidentiality mandated by law. Essentially, the report highlights that NSO’s spyware does not adhere to Polish legal standards, collects excessive information, and lacks proper data security.

Furthermore, the commission’s investigation found that the Polish government had used Pegasus for retaliatory purposes against opposition figures, asserting that these surveillance operations had a detrimental impact on the 2019 elections in Poland. Drawing parallels to Russian government hacker activities during the 2016 US elections, the commission raised concerns about the abuse of spyware to influence democratic processes.

Citizen Lab and Amnesty International have published numerous reports since 2016, exposing the misuse of NSO’s hacking tools in countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico. In recent years, instances of abuse have also been discovered in European Union countries such as Poland, Hungary, and Spain.

As of the time of reporting, NSO has not responded to requests for comment.