News News from Hungary Hungary’s Data Pro­tec­tion Chief Pro­pos­es ‘Face­book Law’

Hungary’s Data Pro­tec­tion Chief Pro­pos­es ‘Face­book Law’

Hungary’s Data Pro­tec­tion Chief pro­posed a new leg­is­la­tion which would enable social media plat­forms to ban peo­ple from their ser­vices only with a com­pelling rea­son, while also grant­i­ng the right to Hun­gar­i­an author­i­ties to review the decisions.

The head of the Hun­gar­i­an Data Pro­tec­tion Author­i­ty (NAIH), request­ed a reg­u­la­tion on social media at a meet­ing of the Dig­i­tal Free­dom Work­ing Group, accord­ing to which com­mu­ni­ty pro­files can only be sus­pend­ed for com­pelling rea­sons, pro-gov­ern­ment dai­ly Mag­yar Nemzet reports. Also, accord­ing to Atti­la Péter­falvi, Hun­gar­i­an author­i­ties should have the right to review these decisions.

Digital Freedom Cttee Turns to Facebook Regional Head over Issue of Transparency, Neutrality

The jus­tice ministry’s dig­i­tal free­dom com­mit­tee aimed at improv­ing the trans­paren­cy of tech firms has penned a let­ter to the region­al direc­tor of Face­book ask­ing whether the company’s super­vi­so­ry board com­plied with the require­ments of polit­i­cal neu­tral­i­ty and trans­paren­cy in its pro­ce­dures, Jus­tice Min­is­ter Judit Var­ga said on Tuesday. 

“I made the sug­ges­tion of estab­lish­ing a Hun­gar­i­an author­i­ty pro­ce­dure in which the Hun­gar­i­an author­i­ties would oblige Face­book to review unjus­ti­fied sus­pen­sions so that free­dom of expres­sion would remain free indeed,” Péter­falvi told the paper.

The Data Pro­tec­tion Chief believes the require­ment of sus­pend­ed Face­book pro­files to ver­i­fy them­selves with per­son­al doc­u­ments to be reac­ti­vat­ed is con­cern­ing and is “con­trary to the prin­ci­ples of the data pro­tec­tion reg­u­la­tions and the prac­tice of the Hun­gar­i­an data pro­tec­tion authority.”

“I find this prac­tice exces­sive, but Face­book is not sub­ject to Hun­gar­i­an rules, but uni­form Euro­pean reg­u­la­tions. The Hun­gar­i­an author­i­ties can­not ini­ti­ate an inves­ti­ga­tion. How­ev­er, look­ing at it from the per­spec­tive of free­dom of expres­sion and the flow of infor­ma­tion, it is clear a new reg­u­la­tion is needed.”Hungarian Press Roundup: Debate Over Free Speech and Censorship

The lead­ing pro-gov­ern­ment dai­ly accus­es ‘George Soros and his net­work’, in a series of arti­cles, of cen­sor­ing Face­book con­tent and lim­it­ing free speech. A lib­er­al com­men­ta­tor finds the accu­sa­tions absurd. A neolib­er­al pun­dit notes that free speech is under threat through­out Europe. 

In response, right­ist oppo­si­tion par­ty Job­bik protest­ed the idea, claim­ing that Atti­la Péterfalvi’s pro­pos­al would not actu­al­ly pro­tect the right to the free­dom of expres­sion, and it is, in fact, an attempt of the Orbán-gov­ern­ment to decide, through the author­i­ties, who can or can­not access Facebook.

The par­ty has also launched an online peti­tion “to ensure that the oper­a­tion of Face­book in Hun­gary is not affect­ed by any influ­ence of the government.”

A few months ago, the dig­i­tal free­dom com­mit­tee was set up by the Jus­tice Min­istry aimed to “improve the trans­paren­cy of tech firms”.

The demand for the legal reg­u­la­tion of social media plat­forms has long been the sub­ject of seri­ous debate not only abroad but in Hun­gary as well. The Orbán gov­ern­ment has been claim­ing that multi­na­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies enjoy exces­sive pow­er, are not trans­par­ent, and often cen­sor cer­tain polit­i­cal view­points. But some fear this is only an excuse for the gov­ern­ment to expand its influ­ence on these plat­forms and to silence oppos­ing opinions.

Fea­tured pho­to by Balázs Mohai/MTI 

Source: hun​gary​to​day​.hu