Hungarian Government to Create Top-rank National Security Informational Center

The Hungarian government came up with a new proposal, which talks about the setting up of a National Security Informational and Criminal Analysis Center. This new government body could freely roam about in other government databases and could collect and retain our data without any restriction. The monster feeding on our personal data is digging privacy’s grave even deeper.

Even up to this point, national security services had nothing to be ashamed before their peers from abroad when detailing the possibilities of a national regulation on monitoring citizens. Even now, in the name of counter-terrorism, crime-enforcement, crime-prevention or just for the sake of safety, these services have wide access to collect personal data. Due to unconstitutional regulations on classified data, personal data collection and surveillance of society are practically non-transparent. In the beginning of this year, government employees could voluntarily consent to being monitored with secret service methods. They could also voluntarily acknowledge being fired in case of denying their consent. This opened the door wide to monitoring public service employees.

Apparently, this is not enough for the ruling government. It wants more than just to monitor defenseless public workers without control. With the suggestion of establishing a National Security Informational and Criminal Analysis Center, intelligence and counter-intelligence personnel will infiltrate the public administration.

Tasks of the Center include the compilation of data on possible threats on our country, on national security or on public safety by processing and analyzing the collected data. It will also operate an informational system, prepare and send evaluation reports to the government through the minister. As a result, the government will have access to data, such as our taxation history, telephone bugging files and air-travel passenger data. Contrary to the previous practice of filing specific requests for access to information, the Center will have unlimited and direct access by connecting to different registers and databases. Practically, this means that national security analysts will be able to freely access information about our traffic tickets while having their morning coffee. This, of course, is necessary in order to uncover extreme threats.

Data collected by connecting databases does not have to be deleted even after terminating the national security measure, as this data could be needed in the future. No doubt, once someone is thought to do wrong by the nation, they will never be able to come clean. There are strong expert arguments in support of establishing such a Center, however, providing that the Constitutional Court stays true to its previous practice, it will not easily be convinced. The most important guarantee and condition for restricting the informational self determination is that it shall be processed only for a specified purpose, in order to exercise a right or perform an obligation and that this purpose shall be complied with in all phases of the data processing. This also means that piling personal data for undefined future use is unconstitutional.

By gathering chosen data from the connected databases, the Center would be able to create ‘personal profiles’. By matching actual partial information bits (where we travel, where we live, how much we earn, what type of car insurance we have, etc.) false profiles could be created and this is a serious infringement of our right to dignity. If we constantly have to answer to false premises of ourselves, then our behavior will change. Instead of acting by our own chosen identity, we will try to shake off the false assumptions of the state. Or quite the opposite might happen: in order to stand in line with those approved by the state, we will do or restrain from certain acts.

Instead of informing law enforcement, the Center’s primary function will be to inform ministers, thus it is to be feared, that the Center will act as a provider of information for the government.

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