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Penalty for failure to implement the Electronic Communications Law, NASK, online elections, AI fund. Dariusz Standerski comments

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Currently, the fine amounts to over one hundred million zlotys, says Dariusz Standerski, Deputy Minister of Digital Affairs, in an interview with the tvn24.pl business editorial team. This is a consequence of PiS’s delay in implementing the EU directive. – This is money wasted, just like the billions for the investment in Ostrołęka – he says. According to the deputy head of the MC, the project on this matter, cleared of previous insertions such as lex pilot, has already been submitted to the Government Legislation Center.

The Ministry of Digitization is checking all projects that were implemented under the rule of Law and Justice. – We need a few more weeks to see in which areas the money was spent ineffectively, in which something was hidden – comments Dariusz Standerski, Deputy Minister of Digital Affairs in an interview with the business editorial office of tvn24.pl.

As he adds, “the previous government had a lot of time, eight years, to hide expenses.”

– Give the projects appropriate names and use them for something else, such as the Department for Counteracting Disinformation in the Scientific and Academic Computer Network, which was used to monitor moods and opinions about Law and Justice, especially intensively during the election campaign. For example, reactions were monitored to the fact that the Prime Minister (Mateusz) Morawiecki he sent his daughter to a private school, or how social media users react to the police intervention against MP Kinga Gajewska – he enumerates.

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Read also: Kinga Gajewska: the policemen held both of my hands, pulled me, I had no opportunity to show my ID

“The fine is over one hundred million zlotys”

Dariusz Standerski also draws attention to the costly problem of unimplemented EU regulations on electronic communications.

– And it’s been like that for twelve hundred days. This is what we pay for every day. Currently, the fine amounts to over one hundred million zlotys. This is due to the fact that an attempt was made to include solutions called lex pilot into this act (the new Electronic Communications Law). While still in the opposition, we protested against political contributions to this project. We organized a public hearing, which the previous government got scared of and withdrew the draft bill – he reminds.

Read also: The end of lex pilot. The Prime Minister’s Office explains

He emphasizes that the first decision after taking over the government was to submit an application to re-enter the draft implementing act into the government plan. – We started cleaning the project. In the new version, it is already submitted to the Government Legislation Center. Due to the amount of penalties for the previous government’s failure to meet deadlines, we asked to shorten the deadline for consultations – he explains.

In his opinion, this is not how it should look legislative process. – But we know well that at this stage, each day of delay costs several thousand zlotys. In a moment, it may be several dozen thousand a day, because on March 14 we will learn the verdict CJEU in this matter – he points out.

This is the directive of December 11, 2018 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code, which should be implemented by December 21, 2020. European Commission submitted a complaint against Poland to the CJEU on July 8, 2022.

As Standerski comments in our conversation, “employees of the Ministry of Digital Affairs prepared everything on time, but there was a blockage at the political level.”

– Polish citizens will have to pay fines for this approach. This is money wasted, just like billions for investments in Ostrołęka, seventy million zlotys for envelope elections, hundreds of millions for the Polish National Foundation – he states.

He adds, “we can list many examples from this rich catalog, which amounts to billions of zlotys, and also add over one hundred million as penalties for the failure to implement the Electronic Communications Law.”

– For the government of Prime Minister (Mateusz) Morawiecki, it probably wouldn’t be a problem, they would have borrowed the money anyway – says Standerski.

Online voting in elections. “It’s not an art to make an app”

We also ask the Deputy Minister of Digital Affairs about the ministry’s new projects, e.g. will it be possible to vote online in elections? – It’s possible, just not today or tomorrow. This is not a matter of local, parliamentary or probably presidential elections. Any solution that, firstly, can increase turnout and, secondly, can facilitate citizens’ access to exercising their electoral rights is desirable. However, it is not an art to create a voting app, provide a login and say: vote. The trick is to conduct the process in such a way that, firstly, there are no errors, and secondly, there is no risk of illegal influence on the elections – explains Standerski.

The deputy minister also refers to the mObywatel application. – Changes are being prepared to extend the operation of the application, for example sending an application to block an ID card when it is stolen. If by logging in via the website we can submit an application to the municipal office, the communication department, or even submit tax applications, why couldn’t it be done on the phone by logging in to the application? We are working on it, he emphasizes.

As he explains, this requires increased cooperation “not only with individual ministries, but based on the exchange of data from registers, of which there are many in Poland.”

– From the PESEL register to the PESEL register CEPiK (Central Register of Vehicles and Drivers – ed.), they also have their own Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Health. The point is to exchange this data and standardize it. For this, we need the state’s information architecture – a set of rules that states what each state register should look like and what standards the application should meet. It has been very neglected in recent years, he emphasizes.

Five hundred million zlotys for the development of artificial intelligence

The deputy head of MC also informs that an artificial intelligence fund will be established. – In dialogue with the Ministry of Finance, we will work on an AI fund. We want it to be at the level of five hundred million zlotys. I hope that this will be implemented next year, when the current government will have full influence on the design of the state budget. Germany and the French have such funds on a much larger scale, he says.

He explains that the idea is to allocate money to implement technological solutions. – We are thinking about the fund helping smaller companies which, if they do not implement artificial intelligence, foreign competition with lower production costs and greater efficiency will be an increasing problem for them – explains Standerski in an interview with the business editorial team of tvn24.pl.

– Investing and helping companies develop artificial intelligence is as important as investing in railways, road renovations or building schools. Artificial intelligence is another element of large investments that support Polish business, he notes.

Read also: Ten thousand laptops are gathering dust in the warehouse after PiS’s flagship project

Want to share an important topic? Contact the author of the text: joanna.rubin@wbd.com

Author:Joanna Rubin

Main photo source: Grand Warszawski/Shutterstock

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