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Authority Fines Independent MP for Data Handling of European Prosecutor’s Office Signature Drive

Péter Cseresnyés 2020.07.11.

The Hungarian data protection authority fined independent MP Ákos Hadházy for a former signature drive he initiated. The lawmaker claims the decision is politically motivated with the sole purpose of silencing the opposition.

On Thursday, independent MP Ákos Hadházy received the decision of the Hungarian data protection authority (NAIH), in which NAIH head Attila Péterfalvi declared the handling of personal data obtained during a former signature drive violated data protection regulations.

Péterfalvi called on the lawmaker to delete the data and imposed a data protection fine of one million forints.

Opposition Collects 680,000 Signatures Backing European Prosecutor Initiative

Hadházy disagrees with the decision, and will appeal against it. The lawmaker is convinced that the NAIH procedure and the timing of the decision are politically motivated.

According to Hadházy, the goal of the fine is to rob the opposition of an effective means of communication, and for the government’s propaganda machine to repeat that “Hadházy has violated the law” in the upcoming days.

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With the help of several opposition parties, Hadházy collected 680,000 signatures in support of getting Hungary to join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), an independent and decentralized prosecution office of the European Union that investigates and prosecutes crimes against the EU budget.

Attila Péterfalvi had already found the signature campaign rather ‘problematic’ from a data protection perspective.

In an interview last year, he noted that people who lent their signatures to the initiative had to provide their name, email address, telephone number, and postal address. But this data was later handled outside of the EU and processed by U.S. and Canadian companies.

Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI