07:43 GMT +317 November 2019
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    Poland's Controversial Law Expanding Surveillance Powers Comes Into Force

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    Poland's controversial new law expanding government surveillance powers comes into force on Sunday after being signed by Polish President Andrzej Duda earlier this week.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, Duda signed into law the bill designed to increase government access to digital data and give security services additional internal spying powers.

    From Sunday, Poland's Interior Ministry gains the ability to access citizens' personal data, communication and internet records without requiring a court's decision, the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper reported. The police may now keep records of individuals' locations, contacts and internet profiles, according to the report.

    The move has been widely criticized by opposition, the European Union and human rights groups. Amnesty International called the legislation "a major blow to human rights," while opposition gathered to protest the legislation near the presidential palace in Warsaw on Friday.

    Protesters have described the move as "trampling the constitution," Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

    Meanwhile, Poland remains the subject of an EU inquiry into possible breach of EU legal standards that began in January after Duda approved laws restricting media freedom and enabling the government to appoint heads of public television and radio services.

    Poland's Ombudsman Adam Bodnar said that parts of the law may be unconstitutional, and will need to be passed through the Constitutional Tribunal.

    Another controversial motion passed by Duda's government late December requires Constitutional Tribunal rulings to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the court's judges.

    Related:

    Poland's New Gov't Undermines Free Press, Rule of Law – US Rights Group
    Poland Passes Contentious Media Law Amid Rumors of Mass Sackings
    EU Steps Up Pressure on Poland Over Constitutional Law Row
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    surveillance, law, Andrzej Duda, Poland
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