Man strikes back at police authority snooping


Following a harassment conviction, a Hungarian man discovered that local police investigators had been a bit too curious about the details of the case, which included details of his private life. As a result, he began to bombard first local and then national police departments with inquiries in order to identify those involved in viewing his case. As a result of this one-man campaign, the police may now have to compile and release a database containing information held on record about some 37,000 people.

Kristof Marton, a resident of Szeged in Southern Hungary, admits that he handled the breakup with his girlfriend badly. This led to a 60-day community labor sentence for harassment, resulting from an argument the two had during the breakup. He later discovered from several sources that unauthorised members of the Szeged police force had been going through the details of his case and discussing his personal affairs. As a result, Marton submitted an inquiry to determine who had access to the files and the reasons they were allowed to handle his records.

The Szeged police department informed him that 49 people had accessed the database for various records pertaining to his case. Marton found that the number was 35 too many, since the majority had no direct involvement in the investigation. He asked for additional details which led to a second tally showing that in fact, 67 officers and public servants had viewed his case details. Marton spotted several anomalies, one officer claimed viewing the records to clarify forensic details even though no onsite forensic survey was carried out, while another had accessed from the wrong police department, as the investigation had been transferred to another precinct.

Marton filed criminal charges for the abuse of professional privileges in three cases and against specific individuals. Additionally, in an effort to inconvenience the police, he also began investigating the specifics of how his case was handled. He went to ORFK, the national police department, to get information that would now involve the entirety of the national police force. The data protection ombudsman said that the filing was in order, due to the publicly significant work conducted by the police force, but ORFK refused. The overseeing officer stated that the filing had no specific purpose, citing the unwarranted workload it would require of the policing authorities.

The courts disagreed, with Marton’s victory now requiring the police to compile a database containing some 37,000 entries – displaying the true extent of the authorities’ inconsistencies towards data protection. ORFK have appealed this ruling. In the meantime, the police have began investigating the Turpis Causa Facebook page, where they suspect Marton made slanderous accusations about a senior police officer. Investigators raided Marton’s home and workplace and confiscated computers to determine whether it was actually him who made the posts in question. However, neither the IT nor the linguistic expert could conclusively confirm these suspicions – which had been based solely on the fact that it often discussed detailed aspects of Marton’s case. In turn, Marton is now unemployed, claiming that he was fired as a result of the police raids. The case will now continue in the appeals court.

Original article in Hungarian.