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Panoptykon's Katarzyna Szymielewicz named Hero of Human Rights by Access Now


Katarzyna Szymielewicz, the president of Panoptykon Foundation, was recognized by Access Now as a Hero of Human Rights “for her diligent work opposing the Polish Anti-Terrorism Law, which limits the right to assembly and disproportionately targeted foreigners without sufficient justification”.

According to the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance (the “Necessary and Proportionate Principles” or “13 Principles”): “Laws should only permit communications surveillance by specified State authorities to achieve a legitimate aim that corresponds to a predominantly important legal interest that is necessary in a democratic society”. Polish Anti-Terrorism Law adopted in June 2016 fails to meet this requirement. The list of controversies is long: foreigners' phone calls might be wire-tapped without a court order, and police might collect their fingerprints, biometric photos and DNA if their identity is “doubtful”. Online content might be blocked, citizens' freedom of assembly limited, and secret services are given free access to all public databases. Also measures such as the obligation to register pre-paid phone cards are included. Panoptykon Foundation and other critics, including the Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland, Adam Bodnar, have appealed to the Polish President, Andrzej Duda not to sign the law but President ignored these appeals.

Full list of Heros & Villans of Human Rights and Communications Surveillance