No wrongdoing in spyware case justice minister says

Commenting on the issue of wiretapping and spyware, Ziobro said that "the Polish state, similarly to other countries, can use such tools". Paweł Supernak/PAP

Poland's justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, has said he has "no knowledge of any illegal actions" in a spying scandal involving the hacking of smartphones.

The US news agency Associated Press has reported that a specialist IT department at the University of Toronto has confirmed that a prosecutor's mobile phones were infected with the Pegasus spyware produced by NSO Group, an Israeli company.

Another apparent victim is Roman Giertych, a former education minister who has also represented Donald Tusk, the opposition leader, in his professional capacity as a lawyer.

The analysts were unable to pinpoint who was behind the spying, but said that NSO Group only sells its software to government agencies.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Ziobro said he had "no knowledge of any illegal actions taken in this area in Poland".

"But I do have knowledge that the Polish state is not powerless with it comes to people against whom there is criminal evidence," the justice minister went on to say.

Commenting on the issue of wiretapping and spyware, Ziobro said that "the Polish state, similarly to other countries, can use such tools".

"Of course, only in accordance with law, provided there are reasons to do so based on legal procedures," he said.

In a statement to PAP on Tuesday, Stanisław Żaryn, the director of the National Security Department, called the Associated Press and subsequent Polish media reports unfounded, and said that all surveillance operations in Poland were carried out in keeping with binding laws and regulations.

"In Poland operational surveillance is carried out in justified and legally defined cases, upon approval from the prosecutor general and based on a court decision," Żaryn said.

Apart from being the justice minister, Ziobro is also Poland's prosecutor general.