New facial database to include all Hungarian citizens

August 29, 2015

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Hungary’s interior ministry would like to create a central facial database containing a photograph of all Hungarian citizens, reports daily online newspaper Napi.hu.  

According to the legislative proposal appearing on the ministry website, those state organs will have access to the database which are engaged in law enforcement of any kind, including the Hungarian parliament’s security services.

The database is needed to help authorities combat the use of forged foreign identification, assist law enforcement agencies, help identify unidentified bodies, as well as reasons related to politicians and other protected individuals, writes the ministry in its proposal.

The interior ministry posted the proposal to its website because this satisfies the requirement that such proposals undergo social consultation before going to parliament.

The database is expect to cost HUF 4 billion (USD 14.4 million).  A new, independent state secret service staffed by some fifty state employees will be responsible for its upkeep and operation.

The database would use photographs of citizens taken for their national identification card.

The interior ministry listed eighteen examples in which the database could be used, including crime prevention and identification of known criminals.

The proposal also addresses the state’s right to engage in telephone and internet surveillance, claiming that the government needs to ensure the ability of law enforcement, counter-terror, and national security authorities to engage in mass surveillance, phone tapping, and location tracking.

All telecommunication providers with more than one million customers would have to create access points which allow the government to snoop on at least 0.1 percent of their customers at any given time.