The draft responds to the problem of the broad powers of the services and the lack of real control over security services in Poland. This means that male and female residents of Poland may be subjected to unjustified and uncontrolled surveillance. The problem has worsened in recent years. The Anti-Terrorism Act adopted in 2016 allowed the services to eavesdrop on foreigners and foreign women without court approval, and the so-called Surveillance Act made it easier to access information about the online activities of Poles and Polish women. The Covid-19 pandemic also favours increasing the powers of the services, allowing the Police to access data from the Home Quarantine application. Moreover, a scandal has already erupted over the use of Pegasus spyware in Poland against, among others, a female prosecutor and an opposition senator. Little awareness and little interest in the problem among the public resulted in a lack of public pressure on decision-makers.
The project included a public awareness campaign and monitoring and advocacy activities. The campaign under the slogan ‘Eavesdropping as it looks’ reached several million people through radio spots, video spots and other media materials. The petition calling on the authorities to legally solve the problem of uncontrolled surveillance was supported by 5,000 people and 20 social organisations. One of the activities was a happening addressed to male and female parliamentarians to draw their attention to the problem of surveillance. In parallel, the Grantee conducted monitoring of legislative changes and advocacy activities, as part of which it prepared 6 opinions and analyses, influencing the shape of adopted legislation, such as the establishment of the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime or the Homeland Defence Act.
As a result of the project, public support for the introduction of control over services increased. Advocacy efforts have made a real contribution to changing or stopping legislation that is unfavourable to male and female citizens. In addition, the impact of the project has been strengthened by the revelation of the scandal involving the use of Pegasus spyware by the services. Undoubtedly, the demand for control over the services is more present in the public debate and is a point of reference for both active male and female citizens and decision-makers, as exemplified by the support of the Project Promoters’s demands by all opposition parties.