Report: Government could ban encrypted messaging

Analysis

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Hungary’s Ministry of Interior is drafting an action plan to fight terrorism, under which those who use services on their smartphones to encrypt the means of communication could be imprisoned for up to two years, Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet reported today based on a document it acquired.

Cabinet Chief János Lázár said yesterday at his regular weekly press conference that services using encryption would not be banned, but intelligence services would ask service providers to let intelligence services monitor the communication flow in a terror situation.

Decoding encrypted messages, however, is not always possible. For example Hungarian startup CrypTalk, which received an innovation award in Hungarian Parliament yesterday, uses no server for the communication. Messages go directly from one device to another, and encryption is so complex that not even developers can decode messages.

According to Magyar Hírlap, the action plan would permit the government, if circumstances dictate, to restrict public gatherings and install recording devices in “areas of outstanding importance for the operations of the state”, in order to uncover possible terrorist activities.

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