European Parliament lawmakers on Wednesday called for the formation of a committee to investigate rights abuses by European Union governments. The spyware in question is Israel’s NSO Group’s Pegasus.
Over in Poland, the Polish Senate gave formal approval for the formation of a committee to investigate evidence that three critics of the sitting right-wing government were hacked using the NSO tool.
The inquiry will be led by Senator Marcin Bosacki, who said that the investigation was needed due to a deep concern for the country’s democracy and the future of Poland’s government.
Liberals taking on the bloc’s right-wing
The third-largest liberal political group in the European Parliament, Renew Europe, made its appeal for a bloc-wide inquiry after reports that NSO Group’s Pegasus software has been deployed by governments to hack smartphones.
The hacks have targeted lawyers, journalists, politicians, and critics of the Polish and Hungarian governments, both of which are right-wing.
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch member of the EU Parliament said a full inquiry is needed into the Pegasus spyware scandal, asserting that European democracy is being undermined and that the bloc should act accordingly.
A call for action
Sophie in ‘t Veld called for the European Commission, the executive branch of the bloc, to follow in the steps of the United States and blacklist NSO, the parent company behind Pegasus.
The Biden administration put new export limits in November on Israel’s NSO Group, saying the tools it makes have been leveraged to perpetrate trans-national repression.
Renew released a statement saying it hopes other groups will support its call, adding that the inquiry would be the first action taken on this issue by an EU institution. Pegasus has been sold to government agencies fighting terrorism and serious crimes. However, the tool is too easy to abuse and has turned up in the phones of critics of various governments across the world, some of whom have ended up dead.