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Human rights group to examine Poland surveillance law

[JURIST] A spokesperson for the Venice Commission, an advisory body within the Council of Europe [official websites], said Monday that the organization will investigate a new police surveillance law that was passed in Poland last December. The controversial law, passed by the ruling conservative party, would allow Polish police and secret service greater access [AP report] to citizens' Internet activity. Many Polish citizens protested this legislation after President Andrzej Duda signed it into law [JURIST reports], citing privacy concerns. The Venice Commission may issue its opinion on the law in June.

The ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) [official website, in Polish] has made numerous controversial reforms since taking power last fall. In response, the Venice Commission began an investigation [JURIST report] into Poland's recent changes to its Constitutional Court [official website, in Polish]. The review was requested by Polish officials after the change in law in December resulted in street protests and international criticism. Last week Poland's Constitutional Court ruled [judgment, in Polish; JURIST report] that controversial government reforms to the court violate the constitution. In January Duda signed [JURIST report] a controversial media control bill into law. Under that law, the treasury minister will replace the National Broadcasting Council in appointing and removing media executives in charge of public radio and television programming. The European Commission announced in January that it had begun an assessment of the rule of law [JURIST report] in Poland, in response to the government's reforms.

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