Polish Leader Admits Country Bought Powerful Israeli Spyware

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Poland’s most powerful politician has acknowledged that the country bought advanced spyware from the Israeli surveillance software maker NSO Group, but denied that it was being used to target his political opponents.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s ruling conservative party, Law and Justice, said in an interview that the secret services in many countries are using the Pegasus software to combat crime and corruption.

Kaczynski said the use of such spyware arose in response to the growing use of encryption to mask data in transit, which defeated earlier monitoring technologies. By hacking phones, it lets authorities monitor communications, as well as real-time conversations where they are not encrypted.

“It would be bad if the Polish services did not have this type of tool,” Kaczynski said in an interview to be published in the Monday edition of weekly magazine Sieci. The wPolityce.pl news portal published excerpts on Friday.

The interview follows exclusive reports by The Associated Press that Citizen Lab, a cyber watchdog group at the University of Toronto, found that three Polish government critics were hacked with NSO’s Pegasus.

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