Snowden’s disclosures of the PRISM programme and other mass surveillance programmes, as well as secret collaboration between European and US security services, show that the means of democratic control over secret services are insufficient. The concerns and the lack of knowledge also gave rise to a number of questions about the operations of the Polish secret services.
In October 2013, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, together with Amnesty International Polska and the Panoptykon Foundation, sent a number of questions to public authorities including the Prime Minister, government departments, secret services and parliamentary committees. The questions concerned the response of Polish authorities to media reports on the operation of the US programme PRISM and their collaboration with the National Security Agency.
The Head of the Military Counterintelligence Service (MCS) has only partially answered the questions sent by the Foundation. He refused, however, to give answers to the following questions: whether or not the MCS was technically capable of tracking telephone calls or online communication using keywords, whether or not the Prime Minister approved the collaboration of the MCS with the US National Security Agency, whether or not the MCS has access to XKeyscore software that allows for the tracking of on-line and phone communication using keywords and whether or not the Polish internet hub PLIX is being monitored for incoming foreign traffic.