Budapest, October 6 (MTI) – The Hungarian parliament’s national securities committee will probe whether the police or telecoms can be held responsible in connection with terrorists allegedly buying SIM cards in Hungary under anonymity, the committee’s head said on Thursday.
The possibility that terrorists may be able to make such purchases under someone else’s name carries a huge national security risk, Zsolt Molnár said in a statement. The committee will also consider whether legislation should be tightened to prevent these scenarios, he said.
Hungary’s regulations binding mobile service providers are not as strict as in other countries of Europe where a SIM card cannot be bought without showing an ID, József Horváth, a secret services expert told public news channel M1 on Thursday. He said it is possible that there was truth to the report published by daily Magyar Idok on Wednesday, which claimed that some 200,000 pay-as-you-go SIM cards had been purchased from Hungary’s Magyar Telekom, in the name of homeless people. Some of the cards were then allegedly used by members of a terrorist cell which took part in the Paris and Brussels attacks last year.
Magyar Telekom told Magyar Idők in Wednesday’s article that “there are no legal constraints as to how many SIM cards a client can buy, and service providers are under no obligation to examine this.”
Hungary’s counter-terrorism center TEK announced last Friday that based on its findings concerning terrorists who spent time in Hungary last year, there were 14 terrorist suspects who travelled through the country in the summer or autumn of 2015. The terrorists were involved in plotting and executing the Paris and Brussels attacks. The terrorists spent periods of time in the country, but the Islamic State terrorist organisation did not build a network here, TEK said.