Data Dealing: Oversight Concerns in Hungary over AI Data

Six months later, the findings are still to be published and, when they are, the NAIH says the public will see only a redacted version.

Data privacy experts are not holding their breath. Indeed, many are worried about what the episode says for the chances of NAIH doing its job when it comes to oversight of another emerging sector - the collection and monetising of public data.

In November last year, Hungary established a National Data Asset Agency, NAVÜ, tasked with collecting and capitalising on the country's public data, gold dust to private companies.

Hungarian Minister of Innovation and Technology Laszlo Palkovics, center, shake hands at a promotional event organized by the Slovenian Tourist Board and the Embassy of Slovenia in Budapest. Photo: EPA-EFE/Attila Kovacs.

Data is key to the development of Artificial Intelligence, from self-drive vehicles to form-filling at the post office or the bank. Hungary's minister of innovation technology, László Palkovics, has said that by 2030 AI could account for between 11 and 14 per cent of Hungary's gross domestic product.

NAVÜ is tasked with helping public bodies store data and to make it available for use by businesses under an AI Strategy adopted by the Hungarian government in May 2020.

But some Hungarians are worried about how the sector will be regulated given what they say is the Viktor Orbán government's patchy record when it comes to the protection of rights and freedoms since his Fidesz party took power in 2010. They have little trust in NAIH under Péterfalvi.

"There must be an independent authority for data protection that isn't the current National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information," said László Majtényi, Hungary's first parliamentary...

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