WARSAW, Poland ( Associated Press) – Lawmakers in the European Parliament on Wednesday called for a committee to investigate rights abuses by EU governments using powerful spyware produced by Israel’s NSO group.
Meanwhile, the Polish Senate formally approved the formation of a committee to investigate evidence that three critics of the country’s right-wing government had been hacked with spyware. Sen. Marcin Bosaki, who will lead the investigation, said the move was needed “because of our deepest concern for the future of our democracy and the Polish state”.
Renew Europe, a liberal political group that is the third largest in the European Parliament, made its appeal for a European-wide investigation, following reports that NSO Group’s Pegasus software was used to hack the smartphones of opposition politicians, lawyers, journalists and critics. has been done for. Right-wing governments in Hungary and Poland.
“We need a full investigation into the Pegasus spyware scandal. European democracy is being undermined and the EU must act accordingly,” Sophie, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said in ‘te veld. “We can’t let this pass. Our democracy is at stake.”
He added that the European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation bloc, should follow the example of the US government and “quickly blacklist Pegasus’ parent company NSO.”
Biden Administration In November Israel imposed new export limits on NSO Group, saying its equipment had been used to “conduct international repression”.
Renew said in a statement It hopes that other groups will support its call, noting that an investigation will be the first action on the matter from an EU institution.
Pegasus is a powerful surveillance tool sold to government agencies to fight terrorism and other serious crimes. But the investigation continues to provide evidence that it is being used in many places to target domestic critics and rivals.
An investigation by a global media association Published in July revealed that Pegasus was used in Hungary to infiltrate the digital devices of multiple targets – including at least 10 lawyers, an opposition politician and several government-critical journalists.
In late December, the Associated Press reported That three Polish critics of the government had also been hacked, based on investigations by Citizen Lab, a research institute at the University of Toronto. Leaders of the ruling party last week Poland’s most powerful politician, Jarosaw Kaczyski, acknowledged that there was spyware in the country, but denied that it was used against the opposition.
Among the Polish victims are a lawyer, a prosecutor and a senator, who was hacked several times in 2019 while running the opposition’s parliamentary election campaign. Text messages stolen from Senator Krzysztof Brezza’s phone were aired and broadcast by state-controlled TV in Poland as part of a smear campaign in the heat of the race, which was narrowly won over by the populist ruling party.
The hacking revelations have rocked Poland, which is being compared to the 1970 Watergate scandal in the United States.
However, Kaczynski and other top members of the ruling Law and Justice party say they see no reason to investigate the hacking. The party can stop the investigation because of a majority in the lower house or the Sejm.
The Senate, where the opposition has a low majority, voted 52-45 to launch its committee on Wednesday. One of the aims will be to determine whether the hacking of Brezza’s phone has changed the outcome of the 2019 elections. The head of the committee, Sen. Bosaki, said that a state where the secret services have influence over the election process is no longer a democracy.
Only the Sejm, whose roles include overseeing the government, can initiate investigation with full investigative powers, including summoning witnesses. The Senate can invite witnesses but they are not required to appear. The senators of law and justice refused to accept the seats offered to the committee.