Reuters International

WARSAW (Reuters) - A pan-European rights body recommended on Friday that Poland introduce more limits to the surveillance powers of police under a newly amended law.

The law, which came into force in February and drew criticism from rights group Amnesty International, expands authorities' access to digital data and loosens the legal framework limiting surveillance by law enforcement.

Poland will host a NATO summit as well as a gathering of millions of Catholic youth in July and the government of the Law and Justice (PiS) party has said surveillance must be expanded to effectively counter the threat of terrorism.

However, the Council of Europe's advisory body, the Venice Commission, said the powers were too broad and urged the EU member to set up an independent oversight body and to better protect lawyer-client secrecy.

It also said Poland was by no means alone in having attracted criticism as to how it has drawn the balance between security and liberty.

The opinion will have no direct impact, but it carries weight at the European Union's executive arm, which launched an unprecedented inquiry in January into whether Poland breached rule of law standards by a move to overhaul the constitutional court that critics say effectively paralysed it.

The Polish government has contested the allegation, saying the overhaul was in line with Poland's constitution, according to which the functioning and organisation of the constitutional tribunal is regulated by laws passed by parliament.

(Reporting by Marcin Goettig; Editing by Alison Williams)

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