Hungary’s data protection ombudsman on Tuesday said he had found problems regarding the data handling of government questionnaires sent out to voters earlier this month.
Ombudsman Andras Jori told MTI that the questionnaires were not anonymous and the personal details supplied by the respondents should be deleted from the authority’s database.
Peter Szijjarto, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s spokesman, insisted that the office handling the questionnaires had consulted with the ombudsman’s office before the questionnaires were mailed, and indicated no concerns over personal data protection.
More than eight million questionnaires were sent out to all Hungarian citizens above the age of 16, with questions pertaining to pensions, welfare and education. Recipients have been asked to return them by June 15.
Jori called it problematic that the responses, or even the fact that someone had participated, could be classified as information giving a political opinion.
He called on the office handling the questionnaires to only store data without any personal identification, such as name, address, or bar codes.
Szijjarto charged that Jori’s statement “must have been motivated by personal concerns”. He noted that the new constitution provides for a single ombudsman instead of the current four, and “Jori seems to be uncertain about his future career”.