Ruling party figures say Poland has Pegasus spyware

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WARSAW, Jan. 7 (Reuters) – Senior Polish government officials said on Friday that the country had purchased sophisticated spyware developed by the Israeli group NSO, but denied that it had been used against political opponents.

Reports from the Associated Press that NSO Group’s Pegasus software was used to hack the phones of government critics, including a senator who led the 2019 largest opposition party’s election campaign, led to accusations that special services undermine democratic standards.

Government figures had previously declined to comment on whether or not Poland has access to Pegasus, citing official secrets laws. In December, a deputy defense minister said Poland had not used Pegasus.

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However, in excerpts from an interview with the conservative weekly Sieci published on Friday, the leader of the ruling nationalists in Poland Law and Justice (PiS) indicated that the Polish services had the software.

“Pegasus is a program used by the anti-crime and corruption services in many countries … It would be a shame if the Polish services did not have this type of tool,” Jaroslaw Kaczynski said.

He dismissed the opposition’s claims that Pegasus had been used against political opponents as “total nonsense”.

Asked about Pegasus at a press conference, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said it would be a “shame” if the Polish services did not have access to such surveillance technology.

Krzysztof Brejza, the senator who, according to research by the Citizen Lab project at the University of Toronto and Amnesty International, saw his phone hacked in 2019 while leading the election campaign of the largest opposition party, has declared: “It’s Jaroslaw Kaczynski who talks nonsense. “

“Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his people (…) deprived the Poles of the right to free elections,” he told the private television channel TVN24.

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Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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