Rojszczak, Marcin. “Surveillance, Legal Restraints and Dismantling Democracy: Lessons from Poland.” Democracy and Security (2020): 1-29.
The principle of proportionality is fundamental to modern democracies. Proportionality and strict necessity are also essential requirements for the legality of public authorities’ surveillance activities. However, nowadays it is becoming more and more difficult to assess the proportionality of a given measure, especially since its surveillance effect may take some time to become apparent. That is why legislatures are increasingly introducing additional legal safeguards to reduce the risk of abuse of power. But can more mechanisms limiting surveillance powers effectively minimize the risk that these powers will be used for non-legal purposes? This key problem will be discussed based on the example of Poland – a EU Member State whose case will be used to illustrate the limited usefulness of the “checks and balances” model in a situation where a resolutely determined authority systematically aims to achieve its goals in violation of the rule of law.