The new Hungarian criminal process law will make it possible to confiscate Bitcoins and other virtual currencies from suspects even in the early stages of the criminal process.

Experts say the new rule proposal, which was made available for reading in February is in accordance with the international AML (anti-money laundering) regulations, even in the field of cryptocurrencies.

Mass surveillance

According to experts, the passing of the bill will fundamentally change the face of the criminal process and will make mass surveillance legal in Hungary.

The authorities will be able to use secret surveillance, mass data surveillance, phone and computer hacking when “reasonable suspicion” arises against a suspect.

The Hungarian Ministry of Justice’s proposal was sent to the Hungarian Parliament earlier in February. The new draft law, if passed, will make it possible for the authorities to confiscate electronic data, electronic and virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The Speaker of the House designated the governmental proposal for debate in the Committee of Legislation. Thus the National Assembly is under obligation to debate bills submitted by the Government. In turn the designated committee decides whether it will be debated by the National Assembly at all.

According to Cointelegraph’s sources, the Committee of Legislation will pass the bill to plenary reading. It is rare for the Parliament to overrule the position taken by a committee.

According to sources of Cointelegraph, the new proposal of the code of criminal process law will be passed by the House in June.

Up until now, six different Criminal Procedure Codes existed in Hungary. The first Criminal Procedure Code was in force for more than 50 years. This was followed by the first socialist Criminal Procedure Act III of 1951. There were other two consecutive acts during socialism, Law Decree 8 of 1962 and Act I of 1973, as well as the Criminal Procedure Act XIX of 1998.

The new code will make it possible – if there is a reasonable suspicion – to confiscate the suspect’s virtual currencies, as well as electronic data, such as digital keys, wallet addresses and the digital wallet seed.

More liberal than British surveillance state

From the proposal, it’s not clear how it will be realized in practice. Though the new proposal mentions the rights of the suspect, the authorities will have much more possibilities to collect digital evidence secretly. However, according to legal experts, the new draft law is far more liberal and legally elaborated than the Investigatory Powers Act in Great Britain.

The secret collection of digital evidence, made by the Hungarian secret services and legal authorities, will be possible to implement against cyber criminals, money launderers, hackers and also carders, in the early stages of the criminal process.

According to the sources of Cointelegraph, the key category in these cases is “reasonable suspicion.” This means, that if a suspect raises criminal evidence digitally and it becomes known to the authorities, the investigation phase of the criminal process begins.

Under investigation, the suspect can be electronically monitored.

This means, that under strictly regulated legal conditions, enormous surveillance powers will be available to the intelligence services and the police. The proposal, if passes, legalizes hacking by the security agencies into the suspect’s computers and mobile phones and allows them access to masses of stored personal data.

And, if there is enough evidence, the virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, or even Dash can be seized by the police.

Written by Tamas Csizmadia in partnership with