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Hungary, US conclude data exchange agreement

Issues

April Foley, US ambassador to Budapest and György Szilvásy, minister without portfolio supervising secret affairs signed an agreement in Budapest enabling exchange of information directed at screening known or potential terrorists.

The agreement, which is a prerequisite of Hungarians traveling to America without visas has to be adopted by the Hungarian Parliament. There is a five party agreement about the issue, and the vote is due before the summer break. American officials will establish a computerized system in Hungary to support the fight against terrorism, another milestone in visa waiver efforts. The agreement conforms to the Hungarian law on the protection of personal data and national security, thus only basic data, but no personal information may be exchange. In case the proportion of refused visa applications remains under 10% in October, Hungary may obtain exemption, by mid January 2009, Foley said. (Napi Gazdaság)

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