Ombudsman in Hungary criticizes bill on personal data collection

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BUDAPEST, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) — The Hungarian government is building a visual surveillance system capable of collecting secret information, the ombudsman for personal data protection Attila Peterfalvi said here on Monday.

Following the presentation of the bill by the Ministry of the Interior last week, Peterfalvi, president of the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (NAIH), spoke on commercial radio Klubradio that “The bill would entrust records of images and sounds made by various authorities to a central data storage organization, treating them uniformly.”

He added that these data would be accessible on the grounds of national security interests or fighting crimes.

Peterfalvi said if adopted in its present form, the text would allow Hungarian citizens to be supervised without their knowledge.

Currently, in order to access personal data, it is necessary for authorities to apply for permission individually on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the application for individual authorization must be documented and must include a justification explaining that the required data are required to perform the statutory tasks of the demanding organization.

Under the new system, any authority could look for data without difficulties.

“However, according to the bill, the data will be transferred under a general license. This will not guarantee the documentation of each use of data. So the subsequent monitoring is much more difficult,” said the president of NAIH.

Peterfalvi suggests data users to be able to individually identify the reasons for request for the data and that the use of data recorded in certain locations (churches, polling stations, political assemblies) should be subject to additional conditions in the legislation.

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