New Polish Senate Report Declares Government’s Use Of NSO Group’s Spyware Illegal


In a recent development, a special commission within Poland’s Senate has declared that the government’s use of spyware, particularly the one developed by NSO Group, is illegal in the country. The commission’s 18-month-long investigation focused on allegations that the Polish government employed NSO Group’s spyware, named Pegasus, to surveil opposition politicians during the 2019 elections.

Key Takeaway

The special commission in Poland’s Senate states that the government’s use of NSO Group’s spyware, Pegasus, is illegal. The report highlights how the spyware fails to comply with Polish legal standards, collects excessive information, and poses a threat to democratic processes, including elections.

The commission’s report emphasized that the use of Pegasus violates Polish law in multiple ways. It stated that the design of NSO’s spyware fails to respect Polish legal standards, collecting excessive amounts of information without proper safeguards for its security and confidentiality. The report further concluded that the Polish government utilized Pegasus as a means to retaliate against opposition figures, consequently negatively impacting the 2019 elections in the country.

Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Michał Kamiński, condemned the use of Pegasus for spying on opposition politicians and influencing the political process. The commission’s findings have drawn attention to the misuse of government spyware in democratic countries, challenging the common perception that such abuses are exclusive to repressive regimes.

The report’s significance lies in shedding light on the culpability of NSO’s tools in democratic nations, and the potential harm they can cause to core democratic processes. The investigation has also put pressure on other countries, including those in Europe, that continue to use NSO’s spyware, prompting a reassessment of their justifications.

Over the years, NSO Group’s hacking tools have been subject to multiple reports by organizations like Citizen Lab and Amnesty International, uncovering their abuse in various countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, as well as within the European Union. The revelations from the Polish investigation challenge the notion that European countries have been immune to the misuse of NSO’s spyware.

The report’s conclusions may extend beyond NSO Group’s Pegasus, potentially impacting the use of spyware developed by other companies like Hacking Team. The Polish government was a customer of Hacking Team from 2012 to 2015, and the report’s stance on spyware could implicate the legality of their usage as well.

While NSO Group has not yet responded to the report, it highlights the urgent need for regulations on surveillance technologies. The current regulatory framework in Poland is deemed rather generic or non-existent, leaving room for potential abuse.

With this groundbreaking report, Poland’s Senate has highlighted the importance of addressing the misuse of government spyware, emphasizing the violation of laws and democratic principles that ensue.

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