The move was taken after media reports said that Hungarian journalists, lawyers and critics of PM Viktor Orban had become targets of spyware.
After being accused of abusing Israeli-made Pegasus spyware, Hungarian prosecutors have begun investigations into suspected illegal surveillance.
The Budapest District Investigative Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on Thursday that the investigation will examine “the so-called Pegasus case suspected of collecting unauthorized secret information.
It added: “The task of the investigation is to determine the facts and determine whether a crime has occurred, and if it has occurred, what crime has occurred.”
The probe is in a survey A statement issued by the coalition of media organizations on Sunday stated that Pegasus spyware manufactured and licensed by the Israeli company NSO has been used by governments in many countries/regions to infiltrate the smartphones of potentially thousands of people.
Hungary is the only EU country listed as a potential user of the software.
The Hungarian investigative website Direkt36 is part of the media consortium that released the exposure. The website stated that more than 300 Hungarian phone numbers are suspected of using the software, including those of journalists, businessmen, lawyers, and critics of Prime Minister Victor. number. Orban government.
The report did not identify the parties that allegedly deployed spyware, but critics have long accused Orbán, a self-proclaimed “non-liberal”, of undermining basic rights such as freedom of the press since he took office in 2010.
Budapest dismisses allegations
The Hungarian police said this week that they had received two complaints about alleged abuse, one from a private person and the other from a politician.
But Hungarian officials rejected the allegations in media reports, saying they were “unfounded.”
On Monday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Sialto stated that the government was not aware of surveillance activities reported by the international media, adding that the press office of the intelligence agency under his supervision did not use Pegasus.
Interior Minister Sandor Pinter stated that Hungary “has been acting in accordance with the law.”
Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, responded to Pinter’s remarks at a weekly press conference, saying that the details of the Hungarian government’s surveillance activities were “not public information”.
“On these issues, there is only one issue that needs to be studied, that is, whether intelligence collection is legal,” he said. “We declare that all secret intelligence collection is carried out legally.”
The Israeli developer NSO Group also rejected reports from the media consortium, saying it was “full of false assumptions and unproven theories.”
It stated that Pegasus is only sold to censored foreign governments and only used to combat terrorists or criminals.
Pegasus is a kind of malware that infects smartphones. It can extract messages, photos and emails, record audio, and secretly activate the microphone.