A draft new law in Poland regarding electronic communications will award police and other special services extensive new powers.
If approved, the draft law will give police access to any content sent or received by email, as well as by other communications tools such as Whatsapp, Messenger or other similar apps.
According to local media, police and special services will also have access to citizens’ online communication without needing the approval of private technology companies- provided they receive court approval for their request for access.
Under the extensive new powers, police would have access to all documents sent and received, as well as any photos or videos transmitted via electronic communications- including any media with intimate content.
The draft law grants police and special services access to “electronic messages.” Despite the broad phrasing, Polish authorities have so far refused to further define or clarify its meaning.
According to cybersecurity non-government organization Panoptykon, Polish courts currently approve 99 percent of all requests made by police and special services to access citizens’ personal electronic data.
At present, the new law is awaiting approval by Poland’s two chambers of parliament, and Presidential approval.
Last week, Polish media also reported that police forces had purchased software from Israeli firm Cellebrite that could provide access to content on suspects’ phones or computers, including passwords and deleted items.
As part of the report, journalists matched information obtained regarding the programmes that had been purchased by Polish police with their functionalities as leaked earlier this year, in an effort to predict how police forces may use these new tools.
According to the new analysis, Polish police will be able to extract passwords, encrypted data as well as hidden and deleted documents from any electronic device in their possession.
Moreover, authorities will have access to data stored on clouds regardless of if they have access to the devices. This includes non-public sources, where police can find passwords using software purchased from Cellebrite.
Other Cellebrite software could give police the ability to break into smartphones and applications, and download data from them. This includes the contents of messages and attachments. Yet another Cellebrite program would give police the ability to recover almost any data from computers they have access to.
According to Transparency International, a non-government organization working to eliminate corruption, Poland has a Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of 56 out of 100.
Image via Pixabay