Prosecutor orders investigation into surveillance bug found in NGO office

July 14, 2016

The bug was found in the NGO’s office in May

A police investigation into the bug found at the office of a Hungarian NGO has been ordered by the prosecutor’s office, reports Hungarian news website

The Eötvös Károly Institute, an NGO dealing with democracy and public affairs, announced on Facebook in May that they had discovered a bug in their office.

“Recently, we found a suspicious contraption in our office that was tapped into our telecommunications line and even our WIFI. We had the device examined by an anonymous expert who determined that the purpose of the device is to transfer data. We do not know the origins of the device or how it wound up in our office, but we can certainly say that we have nothing to hide from anybody. You can find information about all our activities, published materials, and financial reports on our website,” the group wrote on Facebook.

Refused to investigate

After the discovery, Hungarian national István Tényi reported the case to Hungarian police, demanding an investigation based on “collection of forbidden data”. Police refused, saying the information provided by Tényi was not enough to suspect the involvement of crime. Tényi appealed to the Hungarian Prosecutor’s Office, who have now ruled that the police must start their investigation, regardless of their previous decision.

The Eötvös Károly Institute is run by attorney László Majtényi (who served as Hungary’s data protection ombudsman between 1995 and 2001). It just so happens that Majtényi is also the lawyer who successfully represented a case at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which found that Hungarian security services were conducting secret surveillance on Hungarian citizens without judicial oversight.