|| The Information Office is authorised
to handle data of public interest and personal data, including special
data. Special data refer to race, nationality, ethnic status, political
stance or party affiliation, religious or some other belief, state
of health, pathological addiction, sexual life and criminal record
too. Obtaining the above sort of data by clandestine intelligence
gathering is the deepest intrusion in the private, legally protected
sphere of the citizens.
There are also unauthorised individuals - e.g. criminal gangs or
economic players rivalling with each other- who frequently resort
to secret intelligence gathering unlawfully. Due to technical development
there are more and more possibilities to intercept private conversation,
spy out telecommunication secrets and jam computer systems. These
activities are not bound by state boundaries.
Covert information gathering and handling of personal data obtained
in this way may restrict basic constitutional rights; therefore
some guarantees have to be in place to regulate the use of secret
service means as well as their application by the state bodies that
are authorised to use them. Of course the Information Office and
its staff are also bound by these regulations.
Rules pertaining to legal authority
In compliance with the Constitution, the Republic of Hungary observes
the inviolable and inalienable basic human rights. The primary obligation
of the state is to respect these rights. The rules concerning basic
rights and obligations have to be laid down in acts. Regarding the
basic constitutional rights the use of tools and methods of covert
intelligence gathering may among others restrict the rights to human
dignity, inviolability of private home, protection of private secrets
and personal data. In a democracy, a civilian intelligence service
can only pursue this sort of activity if it meets all legal guarantees.
So we are only allowed to conduct covert intelligence gathering
when we discharge our tasks within the scope of our authority and
under the conditions laid down in the law.
Necessity and proportionality
The efficient and successful functioning of the Office is by far
insufficient to give ground for restricting basic constitutional
rights. Methods and tools of the covert intelligence gathering are
only used if there is no other way to obtain the data needed to
accomplish a concrete task. Of several possible and appropriate
measures or means of coercion, the one shall be chosen that, besides
ensuring efficiency, results in the least restriction, injury, or
damage to the person affected by the measure. The measure taken
may not cause any harm that is obviously disproportionate to the
legal objective of the measure.
of Individual Application
Individual authorisation is needed in each and every case to conduct
covert intelligence gathering. The applicable tools and methods
of covert intelligence gathering can be divided into two groups,
1. authorised by a senior leader of the service (i.e. not subject
to external authorisation); 2. authorised by an other state body,
in the case of the Information Office the Minister of Justice (covert
intelligence gathering subject to external authorisation).
IV. Purpose-bound data handling; prohibition of stockpiling
In a democracy personal data can only be handled for accurately
defined legal purposes. It is the Act on national security services
that identifies these purposes for our Office. Our Office is not
permitted to gather or store personal data different from these
set of purposes or in absence of concrete objectives, with the aim
of prospective arbitrary use, so to say. The data that are unnecessary
to the accomplishment of the task are deleted without delay.
V. Quality of the data
Registration and handling of data have to meet the requirements
of correctness and legality. The data must be accurate, complete
and timely if necessary, and has to be stored in a way that the
person concerned could not be identified any longer than the purpose
of the storing justifies it. The quality of the data is legal if
it meets the requirements in all phases of data handling.
VI. Documentation and verification of the data flow
In the Information Office all activities, measures and their results
related to the application of covert intelligence gathering have
to be documented from the planning phase. There are several reasons
for its outstanding importance. It is also a guarantee because insufficient
documentation in this field may prevent individuals, being subject
to any activities linked to data handling, from exercising and enforcing
their own rights. Moreover professional considerations (to check
information, effectiveness) and the requirements of normal operation
(to establish the responsibility of those engaged in the process)
also serve as reasons for emphatic enforcement of this basic principle.