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Elections 2023. Obligation to delete recordings from polling stations. Expert: This poses a potential threat to the electoral process

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If we allow the possibility of recording at the polling station, then the provision about the order to delete materials is unnecessary and undermines trust in these elections – said Krzysztof Jakubowski from Sieci Obywatelska Watchdog Polska on TVN24, commenting on the provisions that a recording with a possible violation of the election process, after transferred to a state institution, will have to be deleted from the device of the citizen who registered the irregularity. He also drew attention to the problem of verifying and enforcing this obligation.

IN “Piasecki’s Conversation” Minister of Digitization Janusz Cieszyński was asked about the provisions according to which a person who registers a possible irregularity in a polling station on a recording will be obliged to remove it from his device after submitting the material to the Ministry of Digitization. Politician PIS he explained that this was necessary because “this video may contain personal data, for example, you or mine, when we go to the polling station, the image of all other people who appeared in this polling station”.

– This image will be available to those persons who have the right to access this data, i.e., for example, the court that will declare the validity of the elections, the prosecutor’s office to which someone reports a crime against the elections, and not the minister of digitization – he said.

Jakubowski: This poses a potential threat to the electoral process

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This issue was commented on TVN24 by Krzysztof Jakubowski from the Watchdog Poland Citizens’ Network and the Freedom Foundation. “I think it poses a potential threat to the electoral process. (…) Practically, a person who recorded a situation, some irregularity, loses access to it completely – he said.

– I am not convinced by the argument that this recording needs to be deleted because it is personal data. Perhaps it cannot be freely published on the Internet, but I am not convinced by the compulsion to delete it and all these recordings will end up in the hands of one government institution. I am not saying that there must be irregularities here, but it may arouse suspicion among citizens, he added.

– If we allow the possibility of recording, then the record of the deletion order is unnecessary and undermines trust in these elections, and I understand that the purpose of recording is to build this trust, that is, to influence that these elections are fair – he assessed .

At the same time, he emphasized the problem of verifying and enforcing the obligation to transfer and remove recordings by citizens, as well as preventing these materials from being made available online. – With the development of today’s technologies, the ministry is not able to automatically delete all such recordings, and even if there are attempts to delete or ask the administrators of these websites to delete files, it will be perceived very negatively by the media, by the public. It will be a difficult situation for the government, he added.

Jakubowski: we are sure that these elections will not be equal and fair

Jakubowski was also asked whether, according to Watchdog Polska, the upcoming elections will be fair and equal. – We are sure that this election will not be equal and fair, and this dishonesty will consist primarily in the use of state resources to influence the outcome of the election, he said.

In his opinion, “giving laptops to students in September, a month and a half before the elections, is an example of using state public resources for the election result.”

“The use of public money to influence the outcome of the elections puts the ruling party in a privileged position,” he stressed.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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