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Chief Polish auditor to probe government use of NSO’s spyware

A Polish Senate commission hears the testimony of two cybersecurity experts, John Scott-Railton and Bill Marczak, senior researchers with the Citizen Lab, a research group based at the University of Toronto, in Warsaw, Poland, on January 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
A Polish Senate commission hears the testimony of two cybersecurity experts, John Scott-Railton and Bill Marczak, senior researchers with the Citizen Lab, a research group based at the University of Toronto, in Warsaw, Poland, on January 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Poland’s chief auditor says he plans to initiate an audit into the state’s supervision of the secret services following revelations of illegal surveillance of government critics with powerful spyware.

Marian Banas, president of the Supreme Audit Office, an independent institution charged with ensuring public funds are spent properly, speaks before a Senate committee investigating the use of Pegasus, spyware produced by Israel’s NSO Group.

“Taking into account the recent events related to the security of the state and citizens, I made a decision to initiate immediate urgent monitoring of state supervision over secret services,” Banas says.

He said he plans to call Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s ruling right-wing party and the deputy prime minister for security, as a witness to testify under penalty of perjury.

“He should answer questions about the illegal and mass surveillance of Polish women and men,” Banas says. He said if Kaczynski is summoned, the law would require him to appear.

Kaczynski, the country’s most powerful politician, acknowledged last week that Poland had purchased Pegasus, describing it as an important tool to fight serious crime.

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