David Dercsenyi was selected for surveillance by an NSO client in Hungary in 2019. He was targeted across three different phones, including his personal phone, his work phone and his ex-wife’s phone. Amnesty International’s Security Lab was unable to perform a forensic test on any of the three phones that he or his ex-wife used at the time because they have been since thrown away.
Who is he?
David Dercsenyi is a local journalist who previously worked for the Hungarian site HVG. He now runs a local bi-weekly newspaper in a Budapest district run by the opposition party.
In December of 2018, he covered Hungary’s Minister of the Interior Sandor Pinter’s plan to install a vast network of surveillance cameras across Budapest. The journalist was later sued by the Interior Ministry over his reporting and lost the case.
According to Dercsenyi, who spoke with Forbidden Stories’ partner in Hungary, Direkt36, Dercesnyi believes his targeting may have been related to a story about a migrant named Hassan F. who was detained in Budapest and accused of human trafficking. While Dercesnyi did not publish the story under his own name, he told the Forbidden Stories consortium that he had sent an official request for comment to the Hungarian government.
"Totális megfigyelés 50 milliárdért - Pintérék terve kiakasztotta az adatvédelmi biztost" HVG (2018)Read
“Hungary is a democratic state governed by the rule of law, and as such, when it comes to any individual it has always acted and continues to act in accordance with the law in force,” a spokesperson for the International Communication Office wrote in response to detailed questions sent by Forbidden Stories and its partners. NSO Group did not answer Forbidden Stories’ questions on specific targets but said it “will continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action based on the results of these investigations.”