If only the analyzes of Gazeta Wyborcza’s journalists are accurate, then the “national mobile operator” is approaching. I am not a concrete opponent of this type of initiative, but trust me, when politicians start accessing telecommunications services, I feel a strange anxiety. I would like to emphasize: I would have reacted in a similar way if activists from another formation had undertaken it.
The forthcoming act on cybersecurity regulates many aspects of digital life in Poland – the narrative in its scope by politicians concerns the protection of Poles and the state against crimes related to virtual space and external aggression. The provisions of the law analyzed by GW journalists may regulate the emergence of something like a “national mobile operator” that would not deal with the “retail” sale of services, but would transfer the possibility of their further disclosure to telecoms already present on the market and to those that will be created (for this purpose). there is not much room anymore). The operator of the Strategic Safety Network, as it is called in the legal act under examination, is to be a one-person company owned by the State Treasury.
In the future, private telecommunications operators would lease all frequencies on which they operate at present from the Strategic Safety Network Operator. Currently, telecoms use them for a fee in the same model, but the lessor is the Office of the Electronic Commission. As Gazeta Wyborcza journalists indicate, UKE may simply not renew a license to use certain frequencies, but at the same time a “national operator” will sign a lease agreement with them. Same, the state apparatus will be able to, inter alia, control the market by setting different rental prices and dictating private operators’ terms and conditions. In short: the state will be a monopoly here.
A citizen on a string
The journalists of GW obviously do not look favorably upon the document being processed, especially its part concerning the “national operator”. The coming years on the telecommunications services market may be very interesting – lease contracts between private operators are ending, and UKE is in no hurry to extend them. Perhaps we have just learned the reason for this – the state is getting ready to take control of the telecommunications market. But what is it all for?
The current regulations allow you to control the activity of telecoms in terms of customer data. Operators are obliged, inter alia, to pass data on to service authorities. The changes introduced by the United Right government were seen as a possible gateway to site blocking and citizen surveillance, but nothing happened. All because, ultimately, these legal acts did not provide very wide possibilities of having control over Internet users in Poland.
Unfortunately, this may change if the analyzes of GW journalists are not exaggerated and the rulers really intend to take over the mobile communication market. Should that happen, it is possible that there will be no problem with blocking access to certain Internet services, as well as with having data on customer activity – including their location. An insubordinate private operator may be punished with a higher price for access to the frequency or simply will not receive a further license, already from the “national operator”. Telecommunications businesses in Poland most likely will not play in an ideological war and will end up subordinating them to the state apparatus.
May the journalists of GW be wrong
These revelations cannot be confirmed one hundred percent. Moreover, some laws of the United Right – especially those that the government can easily “suspend in time” and raise doubts about civil liberties – end up in the parliamentary “freezer”, where they wait for a better period. It may therefore be that our authorities will simply give up this idea, fearing a decline in the support bars in polls. The final shape of the document may differ from the content available today, so nothing is decided yet.
However, if the law “passes” in the form in which it was analyzed here and now – we may have a problem. The point is not that the government is bad, not good and should be wished as bad as possible. It is not who is in charge that is the problem. It is disturbing that such records appear at all – a who came up with the idea is completely irrelevant. I would be afraid of this regardless of what political formation would be in power.