Ruling Party Figures Say Poland Has Pegasus Spyware

Senior figures in the Polish government indicated on Friday that the country had bought sophisticated spyware developed by the Israel-based NSO Group, but denied that it had been used against political opponents. Reuters reports: Reports from the Associated Press that NSO Group's Pegasus software was used to hack the phones of government critics, including a senator who ran the election campaign for the largest opposition party in 2019, have led to accusations that special services are undermining democratic norms. Government figures had previously declined to comment on whether or not Poland has access to Pegasus, citing laws on official secrets. In December, a deputy defense minister said Poland did not use Pegasus. However, in extracts from an interview with conservative weekly Sieci published on Friday, the leader of Poland's ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS) indicated that Polish services had the software. "Pegasus is a program that is used by services combating crime and corruption in many countries...It would be bad if the Polish services did not have this type of tool," Jaroslaw Kaczynski [leader of the Law and Justice party] was quoted as saying. He rejected opposition claims that Pegasus had been used against political opponents as "utter nonsense." Asked about Pegasus during a news conference, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said it would be a "disgrace" if Polish services did not have access to such surveillance technology.

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