Poland Under Surveillance Again

Big Brother is Watching

Big Brother is Watching

It seems that new provisions forced through by Justice Minister Grabarczyk may permit the surveillance of citizens just as with the controversial ACTA agreement. The amendment to the Law on the System of Common Courts of 20 February 2015 grants politicians the right to access case files and the internet systems of courts. The Minister of Justice argues that these provisions are in place only to allow him the power to supervise the activities of courts and to react in case of its apparent slowness. However, Judge Mariusz Królikowski warns that information stored on the internet systems of courts is not anonymous. It contains the minutes of court proceedings, judicial rulings and their justifications; thus, highly sensitive data regarding personal and professional matters of all parties involved in legal proceedings. As a result, such access to data will allow officials to check, for instance, if a member of the opposition pays maintenance or was ever tried for driving under the influence of alcohol by simply typing into the system his or her surname. Grabarczyk has declared he will not use his empowerment in bad faith and that his only aim is to improve the efficiency of proceedings. Yet, however good his intentions are, the amendment may give rise to abuses and may limit privacy in the future.

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