The Biden administration put new export limits in November on Israel's NSO Group, saying its tools have been used to "conduct transnational repression."
Renew said in a statement that it hopes other groups will support its call, noting that an inquiry would constitute the first action on the matter from an EU institution.
Pegasus is a powerful surveillance tool sold to government agencies to fight terrorism and other serious crimes. But investigations have been turning up evidence that in many places it is being used to target domestic critics and rivals.
An investigation by a global media consortium published in July showed that Pegasus was used in Hungary to infiltrate the digital devices of a range of targets — including at least 10 lawyers, one opposition politician and several government-critical journalists.
In late December, The Associated Press reported that three Polish critics of the government were also hacked, based on investigations by the Citizen Lab, a research institute at the University of Toronto. Last week ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland's most powerful politician, acknowledged that the country had the spyware but denied it was used against the opposition.
Among the Polish victims are a lawyer, a prosecutor and a senator who was hacked multiple times in 2019 when he was running the opposition’s parliamentary election campaign. Text messages stolen from Senator Krzysztof Brejza’s phone were doctored and aired by state-controlled TV in Poland as part of a smear campaign in the heat of the race, which the populist ruling party went on to narrowly win.
The hacking revelations have rocked Poland, drawing comparisons to the 1970s Watergate scandal in the United States.
However, Kaczynski and other top members of the ruling Law and Justice party say they see no reason for an investigation into the hacking. The party can block a probe thanks to its majority in the lower house, or Sejm.
The Senate, where the opposition holds a slim majority, voted 52-45 on Wednesday to launched its committee. One of its aims will be to determine whether the hacking of Brejza's phone altered the outcome of the 2019 elections. The head of committee, Sen. Bosacki, said a state in which secret services have an influence on the election process ceases to be a democracy.
Only the Sejm, whose roles include supervising the government, can launch an inquiry with full investigative powers, including calling witnesses. The Senate can invite witnesses but not require them to appear. Law and Justice senators refused to accept the seats it was offered on the committee.