Pegasus in Times of the Rule of Law Crisis - Surveillance and Illiberalism in Central and Eastern Europe
The research deals with the rule of law aspects of the Pegasus scandal, which constitutes not only a challenge to fundamental rights but also to a broader democratic system established on the rule of law principles. Compared with the previous ‘surveillance scandals’, Pegasus seems to be a much more intrusive tool. It is considered to be a ‘cyber weapon’, meaning it overcomes the security settings of a
mobile phone. Technical features of the spyware undermine the role of courts in the authorization procedure and in broader terms it constitutes an important challenge from the perspective of the effective oversight of secret services in a democratic state. Furthermore, in the context of the Central European states additional factors (such as ongoing rule of law backsliding or experience of the communist state of surveillance) it may become particularly relevant to assess the causes and consequences of Pegasus being used in Poland and Hungary. The main research question concentrates on the relationship between the ongoing rule of law crisis in the European Union and the fact that such intrusive surveillance was bought and used by numerous EU Member States.