Demonstrations against internet surveillance in Poland

JACEK TURCZYK POLAND OUT

People protest during a rally organised by the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD), in Warsaw, Poland, 23 January 2016. Anti-government protests organised by the KOD were held in many Polish cities and some European cities as well.

On 15 January, the Polish parliament approved a controversial internet surveillance law which according to critics it intrudes citizen’s privacy


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A demonstration against the upcoming internet surveillance law took place in Krakow, Poland on Saturday.

The controversial security law adopted by the Parliament on January 15 and now the bill needs to be approved by the Senate (where the ruling Law and Justice Party -PiS- holds a majority) and by the Polish President Andrzej Duda. Once signed, it will enter into force on 7 February, Radio Poland reported.

According to Krakow post, the internet surveillance law is considered one the most invasive in Europe. The law requires telecom companies to retain metadata on its users and allows several law enforcement agencies to have access to online personal info data.

According to Radio Poland, the new measures proposed by PiS were designed to regulate how police investigate suspects’ phone and internet use, but also requires officers to file detailed reports for use by courts.

Maciej Wasik, Poland’s deputy security services chief, accused the previous government of hypocrisy saying that the Civil Platform government allowed the police around 60,000 times to access online personal data of internet users. The minister claimed that the new rules will give more power to the courts to oversee how internet data are accessed by the agencies.

Ahead of the vote, Marek Wójcik, an MP for the now-opposition Civic Platform, “said that the amendments deeply encroached into citizens’ privacy, especially when it came to internet use,” Radio Poland reported.

On Saturday, many demonstrators marched against the internet surveillance law. According to the Associated Press (AP) around 10,000 people participated in the protest carrying Polish and EU flags.

The demonstration was organized by the Committee for the Defense of Democracy, which organized previous protest against media and judiciary reforms promoted by PiS.

“We want to keep our democracy and freedom,” Mateusz Kijowski, leader of the Committee for the Defense of Democracy, told the crowd in Warsaw and added. “In Poland, we now have one center of power. There is no possibility of control, of verification, and this threatens our freedom.”

 

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