Anti-terror law could allow government to monitor calls, bank accounts

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Authorities would be allowed to monitor the calls and bank accounts of people suspected of terror activities, under a new anti-terror proposal being drafted in the wake of this weekʼs terror attacks in Brussels, according to reports.

Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér, government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács and Minister of Defense István Simicskó announce plans for the anti-terror bill yesterday. (Photo: MTI/Zoltán Máthé)

Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér announced yesterday that the Ministry of Justice has already received their recommendations in connection with the proposal. The tasks of the Ministry of Interior include negotiating with opposition parties given that the package involves several points that need a two-thirds majority in Parliament in order to be passed. MPs could vote on the legislation as early as April in an expedited procedure, Pintér said, according to reports. 

The recommendations of the Ministry of Interior include increasing the number of staff, equipment and technological developments to fight terror activities, and to enhance the Counter Terrorism Center (TEK). Pintér added that the government has decided on the establishment of a counter-terrorism intelligence and crime center as well, according to reports.

The proposed bill is to include legislation that would require private service providers to unlock apprehended encrypted devices for national security purposes, as well as monitor the financial activities and bank accounts of people suspected of being involved in terrorist activities.

Following the ministerʼs announcement, opposition party Democratic Coalition deemed the package to be “another step in putting an end to democracy in Hungary”, while opposition party Dialogue for Hungary PM said what the minister is proposing is an “autocratic package spiced with propaganda”. Opposition Socialists said they are ready to discuss every measure to be taken to counter terrorism if the proposal on the measures to be discussed is sent to all factions in advance and in time.

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