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CAB had right to deny information on RCS software

The Provincial Administrative Court has dismissed the HFHR’s complaint against a decision of the Head of the Central Anti-corruption Bureau. The CAB denied the Foundation access to information on whether or not the agency uses the Remote Control System (RCS) software.

The RCS is a software capable of monitoring computers and telephones and acquiring data stored on such devices. The system can also be used to track online correspondence even if a user is off-line.

The RCS may copy files from a computer’s hard drive, record Skype conversations, intercept passwords entered in a browser and remotely turn on a web camera or a computer’s microphone.

In April last year the HFHR applied to, inter alia, the CAB and ISA, seeking information whether the agencies use such a software. The ISA confirmed that it had been using the software, while the CAB refused to provide such information citing its classified nature. The CAB also indicated that the requested information constitutes “another legally protected information” for the purposes of the CAB Act.

Last week, the PAC accepted the CAB’s position. “The Court has held that this case involves a conflict between a right to privacy and state security. In its opinion, the CAB has the right not to disclose the kind of information requested by the Foundation owing to the constant threat of cybercrime”, says Mr Artur Pietryka, who represents the HFHR in the proceedings.

The judgment is not final. The HFHR claims it will file a cassation appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court.

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