European Commission questions independence of Hungary’s new Data Protection Authority

Andrea Klara Soos (Attorney-at-law, Sooslaw, Budapest, Hungary, E-mail: writes that Hungary has adopted a new data protection act with effect from 1 January 2012 (the “Info Act”) and is establishing a new authority for the protection of personal data and freedom of information in Hungary, called in Hungarian the “NAIH”.

On 12 December 2011 Ms Viviane Reding, Justice Commissioner and Vice-President, the European Commission, sent a written request and memorandum to the Hungarian government with a tight deadline for the answers and raised the question whether the new authority is independent within the meaning of Article 28 of the EU Data Protection Directive. The Minister of Justice in his reply argues that the new authority will be independent. The government points out that the main difference between the old and the new authority is that the NAIH will be subject to the procedural rules of the Act on Public Administrative Procedures (“PAP”) and will be empowered to impose fines on the data processors and thus will be a more effective authority.

See the report on the Reding letter.