Poland’s PM accuses previous government of using Pegasus spyware for illegal snooping

Brussels, Belgium. 15th November 2018. EU Council President Donald Tusk gives a press conference on results of EU-South Africa summit.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Polish prime minister Donald Tusk has revealed that he has damning evidence that the previous Law and Justice administration used Pegasus spyware to spy on a “very long” list of victims.

The Pegasus spyware, developed by the Israeli NSO Group, provides covert surveillance and full access to infected devices including passwords, stored photos, communications, and can activate the camera and microphone for live surveillance.

The Law and Justice party lost power during last year’s October elections, and was previously criticized by the European Union for refusing to cooperate with investigators looking into the use of spyware on critics and political rivals.

Scandalous surveillance state

In a press briefing, Tusk revealed that his special commission for investigating the use of the spyware had found evidence that “confirm 100% the purchase and use of Pegasus in a legal and illegal manner.”

The Polish prime minister was joined by the country's president, Andrzej Duda, who is aligned with the Law and Justice party. The president has not yet publicly responded to the accusations against the previous administration.

According to AP, during the 2019 election campaign an opposition member was targeted almost three dozen times by spyware. The stolen data was later used in smear campaigns aired on TV by the Law and Justice party.

“This is only a sample of the documents that are at your disposal, Mr. President,” Tusk said during the meeting, “The list of victims of these practices is unfortunately very long.”

Speaking to AP, John Scott-Railton, senior researcher at Citizen Lab said, “This vindicates the victims and the technical and forensic methods we used to confirm infections.

“Commercial spyware like Pegasus is dangerous to democracy and carries a baked-in abuse potential.”

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Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict Collins is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro covering privacy and security. Benedict is mainly focused on security issues such as phishing, malware, and cyber criminal activity, but also likes to draw on his knowledge of geopolitics and international relations to understand the motivations and consequences of state-sponsored cyber attacks. Benedict has a MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy, alongside a BA in Politics with Journalism, both from the University of Buckingham.