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Pegasus. Who were the services eavesdropping on? Beata Morawiec: judges learned about this system from the media

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Beata Morawiec, president of the Association of Judges “Themis”, said on TVN24 that the applications submitted by prosecutors to courts regarding wiretapping do not indicate the method of surveillance. – The judges learned about the existence of Pegasus from the media. It was terrifying for us, she said. According to Morawiec, judges should be better prepared to assess applications for consent to wiretapping.

The prosecutor's office summoned him for questioning 31 people who – as investigators suspect – were under surveillance with the Pegasus system. However, according to the Minister of Justice, Attorney General Adam Bodnar, there are to be many more such people. Some of them are public figures. The case concerns “excess of powers and failure to fulfill duties by public officials”.

On Sunday, in the program “You Get Up and Know” on TVN24, judge Beata Morawiec, president of the Association of Judges “Themis”, explained that in order to legally surveil specific people, “you need to convince the court that (…) the proceedings provide grounds for restricting civil rights and to consent to the services (…) being eavesdropped.” Such an application is submitted by the prosecutor, who must prove to the court that “there is a likelihood of committing a crime and there is a need to make such a decision.”

Read also: Bodnar on Pegasus surveillance: 31 people are the first group, there will be others

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Judge Beata MorawiecTVN24

Eavesdropping with Pegasus. “Judges should be better prepared”

Judge Morawiec emphasized that investigators “limit what they want to show the judge to the evidence they believe is necessary to obtain consent, but so far these applications have never indicated the device or method of surveillance.”

– For the judge, wiretapping always meant the opportunity to listen in on what we say on the phone, or read what we have on our computers, on WhatsApp or on other Internet portals. However, the court does not know what devices or methods of surveillance the services have at their disposal, noted the president of the “Themis” association.

Beata Morawiec admitted that “the judges learned about the existence of Pegasus from the media.” – No one indicated that the state has this type of device that is capable of not only reading and eavesdropping, but (also – editor's note) interfering with the content of conversations, the content of text messages, and the content of e-mails on our devices. This was terrifying for us, but it also allowed us to now say: yes, judges should be better prepared to assess these prosecutor's requests in terms of the technical possibilities of implementing the consent, she emphasized.

Read also: What will those who are eavesdropped learn? Myrcha with the most important criterion

Judge Morawiec on changes in the law regarding wiretapping

Judge Morawiec emphasized that ongoing work on amending the Act on Secret Services provides for the possibility of establishing “specialized units in courts that will be prepared exclusively to make this type of decisions.” – These will be judges who will have access to all the evidence and will be trained by the special services in the operational methods and techniques at their disposal. Judges will be able to ask very specialized questions that will allow them to evaluate this material from a different point of view than before, she noted.

The president of the Association of Judges “Themis” reminded that in any investigation into any crime, investigators may request the possibility of surveillance. – But if someone commits pickpocketing, they are not looking for such operational funds, it is more about organized crime (…), large drug transactions. As for Pegasus, when it comes to terrorism, a threat to state security. These must not be slingshots, but cannons, she emphasized.

Morawiec assessed that it was necessary to create “one act that would not allow it to be interpreted in such a way that everyone (…) could interpret the provisions of this act freely.” According to the judge, such an act should contain definitions of individual operational activities “to which both the prosecutor and the court, when granting consent, will have to adapt.”

Entire conversation with Beata Morawiec about Pegasus (14/04/2023)TVN24

Main photo source: TVN24



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