Hungary used Pegasus spyware in hundreds of cases, government agency says – EURACTIV.com

The cases of Hungarian individuals targeted by the government’s Pegasus phone spyware were all perfectly justifiable legally, according to a National Security Service investigation. Telex reported Monday.

Without giving exact names for confidentiality reasons, Attila Péterfalvi, president of the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (NAIH) said that a risk to national security was the reason given for the monitoring.

According to Péterfalvi, the NAIH investigation did not reveal any information indicating that the requestors and the operators of the surveillance had violated any laws or regulations, nor violated the criteria set by the manufacturer of Pegasus, the Israeli group NSO, such as the spyware may be used because of a national security risk.

There is no doubt that they did not respect the contractual conditions and the current Hungarian laws, Péterfalvi said.

A multinational investigation revealed last summer that the software was allegedly used to spy on local journalists, businessmen and politicians, including those in Hungary.

According to Amnesty International Hungary, nearly 300 people were targeted by Pegasus in Hungary, but the human rights NGO did not provide the list of mobile numbers to the agency upon request, Péterfalvi said.

Thus, the NAIH survey only covered the cases that had received media coverage and not the 300 in total.

Áron Demeter, program manager at Amnesty International Hungary, Recount household daily intake LVH last December, the NGO was unable to submit the list because it was never in its possession. They informed Peterfalvi and gave him the coordinates of their headquarters in London.

Péterfalvi also pointed out that data collection for national security purposes does not fall within the scope of EU law and falls exclusively within the competence of member states.

(Vlagyiszlav Makszimov | EURACTIV.com with telex)