MPs travel to Poland to investigate use of spyware

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From September 19 to 21, a delegation of ten MEPs from the EP Inquiry Committee on Spyware will travel to Warsaw to hear from spyware victims, local politicians and other experts.

During their visit, MEPs will meet members of the Polish Senate’s Extraordinary Committee on Pegasus, members of the Sejm, as well as representatives of the Supreme Audit Office and the Ombudsman’s Office. They will also speak to judges to learn about judicial oversight of surveillance, hear from experts from the country’s security services, meet with spyware victims to hear their testimonies, and sit down with journalists, NGO members and other experts.

MEPs also wanted to meet with representatives of the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Justice, but these requests were turned down, prompting the political groups to issue a critical joint statement on September 15.

Spyware investigation: statement by the committee coordinators on the Polish authorities’ refusal to cooperate

“We strongly condemn the fact that the Polish government has refused to cooperate with the commission of inquiry by declining the invitation to the hearing and refusing to meet the fact-finding mission next week. We believe that such meetings would provide the government with an opportunity to respond to reports of unlawful use of intrusive surveillance against people perceived to be political opponents. Nevertheless, the committee will continue to work diligently and transparently to uncover abusive spyware practices in the European Union, even if a member state government fails to comply with its obligation to cooperate with an EP committee of inquiry. We welcome the cooperation of many other actors, including victims, experts and representatives of civil society, who are present today, and we look forward to further meetings next week.

To prepare for the visit, the committee organized a hearing with invited Polish experts and victims of spyware.

Members participating in the delegation: Jerome LENAERS (EPP, NL – Chairman of the PEGA Committee and Head of Delegation), Sophia IN’T VELD (Renew, NL – Rapporteur of the PEGA Committee), Vladimír BILČÍK (EPP, Sask.), Bartosz ARUKOWICZ (EPP, PO), Juan Ignacio Zoido Alvarez (EPP, ES), Katarina BARLEY (S&D, DE), Lukasz KOHUT (S&D, PO), Róża THUN AND HOHENSTEIN (Renew, PO), Dominik TARCZYŃSKI (RCT, BP), Marcel KOLAJA (Greens, CZ).

To conclude the visit, a press conference will take place at the Marriott Hotel in Warsaw on Wednesday 21 September at 13:00 CEST. A streaming link can be found here.

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