444.hu noticed a few interesting lines of code on the government's national consultation website. The website, which was set up by Antal Rogán's propaganda ministry, asks users to provide their name, e-mail address and age before allowing them to fill out the online version of the government's latest national consultation.
The code belongs to Yandex, Russia's IT equivalent of Google. In addition to offering services such as e-mail, a search engine and cloud services, the Russian company provides analytics services to website owners. This means Yandex gathers valuable information about users who access a website where the Yandex analytics code is present.
The presence of the Yandex code provides a way to track and monitor the usage of the national consultation's official website and, according to 444.hu, provides services that go well beyond that of Google's own analytics code. According to 444.hu, it seems unusual that an EU country or NATO ally would use such technology on government-run websites. The daily reports information transferred through the code included users' names, age, and e-mail addresses.
In 2011, the BBC reported that Yandex handed over private information on certain users to Russia's state security service, FSB. The information given to the FSB was on customers that had used Yandex's payment system (which is similar to PayPal) to donate money to an anti-corruption website launched by the Russian blogger Alexey Navalny.
The Government Information Centre insisted users' personal data and the opinions they voice using the site "are kept strictly separate and cannot be linked". The website's analytical tools serve to increase efficiency, it added. The centre acknowledged that one of these analytical tools "could provide an opportunity for malevolent misinterpretation", thus the developer was instructed to disable it.
Socialist MP Zsolt Molnár, who chairs parliament's national security committee, said he expects the Hungarian secret services to clarify whether or not the personal data of respondents in the national consultation are sent to Russian servers. The Socialist Party has also requested an investigation by data protection authority NAIH and asked it to suspend the national survey for the duration of the probe.
The Hungarian Liberal Party called on cabinet office chief Antal Rogán to resign for "sending the data of Hungarian voters to a foreign state" and asked for an investigation into the matter. Péter Ungár, a party leader of green LMP, said at a press conference that his party would turn to the NAIH on the matter.
Source: 444.hu; budapestbeacon.com; MTI
Last Updated on Monday, 10 April 2017 12:03