Poland’s legislature has announced the formation of an investigative committee to probe the suspected use of the controversial Israeli-developed Pegasus spyware by its former government. Allegations suggest that the Law and Justice (PiS) party, which was in power from 2015 to 2023, may have used the software to surveil opposition figures and judges critical of its policies. The new pro-European administration, led by Donald Tusk, aims to examine the intentions and legality behind the deployment of Pegasus and to determine the procurement methods of such surveillance tools.
The use of approximately €5.4 million from court funds by the previous government to acquire Pegasus has been deemed unlawful, according to reports by Gazeta Wyborcza. This spending has raised serious concerns about the potential invasion of privacy of individuals such as Krzysztof Brejza, a current European parliament member. Pegasus is capable of accessing a phone’s messages and data, and remotely activating the device to capture audio and visuals.
The PiS, under the leadership of Jarosław Kaczyński, acknowledged the purchase of Pegasus in 2022 but refuted claims of its use against political adversaries. However, the new government has launched multiple inquiries, including an investigation into the PiS’s conduct during the Covid-19 pandemic and the alleged widespread issuance of Polish visas for financial gain by consulates in various countries.
Tensions between the current pro-European coalition and the conservative nationalist President Andrzej Duda, who is backed by the PiS, have led to a complex political and legal landscape. The recent detention and charging of Poland’s former deputy foreign minister, Piotr Wawrzyk, in relation to the visa scandal exemplifies the ongoing political turmoil and the government’s commitment to addressing past irregularities.