Surveillance bug found in NGO office

June 8, 2016


The Eötvös Károly Institute, a Hungarian NGO dealing with democracy and public affairs, has announced on Facebook that they 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.

Az elmúlt napokban gyanúsnak tűnő készüléket találtunk az irodánkban, amely a távközlési vezetékeket, többek között a…

Posted by Eötvös Károly Közpolitikai Intézet / Eötvös Károly Policy Institute on Wednesday, June 8, 2016

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.

The Court sided with Majtényi’s clients in January, and the decision was upheld this week following a failed appeal by the Hungarian government.

Thanks to Majtényi’s work, the government must now enact legislation that requires the state’s security services to seek judicial oversight when conducting invasive surveillance of citizens.