Pegasus Spyware Scandal May Fuel Poland-EU Rule of Law Row

CC0 / Pixabay / Spying
Spying - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
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The rule of law-related tensions between Brussels and Warsaw escalated in early October, when Poland's highest court ruled that its constitution had primacy over EU legislation.
Recent reports about two Polish opposition figures being spied on with the help of the Israeli NSO Group-developed software Pegasus may further inflame the Warsaw-Brussels row over the rule of law, according to Politico.
The US news outlet also quoted Radoslaw Sikorski, a Polish member of the European Parliament (MEP), as saying that the situation around the spyware scandal “puts Poland, unfortunately, in the same category as other authoritarian regimes who misuse criminal and technological capabilities for targeting not the bad guys but political rivals”.
An Israeli woman uses her iPhone in front of the building housing the Israeli NSO group, on August 28, 2016, in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. - Apple iPhone owners, earlier in the week, were urged to install a quickly released security update after a sophisticated attack on an Emirati dissident exposed vulnerabilities targeted by cyber arms dealers.
Lookout and Citizen Lab worked with Apple on an iOS patch to defend against what was called Trident because of its triad of attack methods, the researchers said in a joint blog post.
Trident is used in spyware referred to as Pegasus, which a Citizen Lab investigation showed was made by an Israel-based organization called NSO Group. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.12.2021
Scandal-Ridden Spyware Company NSO Mulls Closing Pegasus Unit, Selling Company to Americans
Sikorski was partly echoed by German MEP Moritz Korner, who said that the EU does not have the authority to decide how the bloc’s member states should handle their internal security when it comes to pervasive surveillance practices.

Polish Opposition Figures Accuse Warsaw of Spying

The remarks come after lawyer Roman Giertych and prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek claimed that the Pegasus spyware had been used against them, with Giertych pointing the finger at Polish authorities and arguing that “they scanned my life totally”.
Government spokesperson Stanislaw Zaryn, for his part, declined to confirm or deny whether Warsaw ordered the hacks or purchased the Israeli group’s spyware, only insisting that "suggestions that Polish services use operational methods for political struggle are unjustified".
As for the NSO Group itself, it came under fire in July, when it was revealed that the group’s Pegasus spyware had been used to spy on the phones of about 50,000 targets, including politicians, businessmen, activists, journalists, and opposition figures around the world.
© AP Photo / Sebastian ScheinerA logo adorns a wall on a branch of the Israeli NSO Group company, near the southern Israeli town of Sapir, Aug. 24, 2021
A logo adorns a wall on a branch of the Israeli NSO Group company, near the southern Israeli town of Sapir, Aug. 24, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
A logo adorns a wall on a branch of the Israeli NSO Group company, near the southern Israeli town of Sapir, Aug. 24, 2021
The politicians included French President Emmanuel Macron, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, King of Morocco Mohammed VI, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and President of the European Council Charles Michel, among others.
The scandal was followed by the US Department of Commerce in November including the NSO Group in its list of entities engaging in activities that run counter to American national security.
German police officers - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
German Authorities Reveal They Secretly Used NSO Group’s Spyware, Reports Say
Also in November, Apple launched a lawsuit against NSO Group for the surveillance and targeting of the company’s customers. The company is also seeking a permanent injunction to ban the group from using any Apple software, services, or devices.
As far as the Brussels­-Warsaw dispute regarding the rule of law is concerned, it escalated in early October, when Poland's constitutional court ruled that its basic national law had primacy over some parts of EU treaties.
The move raised concerns within the bloc, while the European Commission opened a probe into the ruling to decide on further measures.
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