Poland: will the hacking scandal hurt the government?

Poland's government allegedly used Pegasus software to hack the phones of members of the opposition in the run-up to the 2019 parliamentary elections. Among those spied on was then head of the liberal-conservative Civic Coalition, Krzysztof Brejza. At the time, manipulated text messages sent by Brejza were published in PiS-affiliated media and he was forced to step down in the ensuing scandal. Brejza is convinced that without Pegasus the elections would have had a different outcome.

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Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

PiS voters must be sensitised

Rzeczpospolita journalist Michał Szułdrzyński advises the opposition to think carefully about how it sensationalises the issue:

“PiS voters today are shocked above all by the scale of inflation. So paradoxically, in focusing on Pegasus, the opposition in fact helps the ruling party by diverting public attention from an issue that could cost the PiS support to one that unfortunately does not interest PiS voters. I'm not saying that the opposition should drop the issue. The illegal surveillance of an opposition chief of staff is a blow to the very core of democracy. ... However, the opposition should think carefully about how to convey the Pegasus affair to voters beyond its own voter base.”

Interia (PL) /

No one is afraid of surveillance these days

Interia explains why there is no public outcry:

“Our fellow citizens won't throw away their phones, which they use to keep in touch with their families, work or relax. In a way, the big US companies that track users' every move online have made us comfortable with surveillance. For most citizens, the price of modern surveillance is not the threat of jail but at worst more intrusive advertising. And the last argument citizens generally resort to to dispel their doubts is: 'I have nothing to hide'.”