Hungarian ruling party wants to ban all working crypto

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isn’t this the “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” argument? I don’t think this kind of reasoning is a good one, be it related to cryptography or weapons.

The goal is probably more key escrow and less removing apps. For surveillance fans it’s not even important that it can be circumvented, they simply love the idea that (some high but below 100 %) connections can be intercepted and decrypted.

Not at all, because secure communications does not have shooting people as its primary purpose. Also, guns are not necessary to allow secure electronic financial transactions, although they may be helpful in some neighborhoods.


it’s mostly the structure of the argument I dislike, too much FUD for my taste (ymmv)

“if X are banned only bad people will do/have X”

Another day, another bit of lunacy from the Hungarian government. Most of us here are used to it by now.

You have to understand the context of a story like this: Fidesz has decimated its domestic political competition, especially on the left, but the party’s popularity has been sagging recently due to scandals and other bad press it has gotten lately. So it has had to create enemies in order to keep its supporters engaged and to divert attention from all the scandals.

The migrants/refugees coming from Syria and Afghanistan serve as perfect foils in this regard - we have heard nonstop from the Hungarian government about how there are terrorists among them, and those that aren’t terrorists are going to destroy our culture and Christian heritage.

This story about banning crypto fits into that narrative. It doesn’t matter if it’s a technologically feasible idea or not. A high proportion of Fidesz supporters are country people and older. These people are not very technically savvy and have no clue about cryptography at all. All that matters to them is that government is giving the appearance of doing something to prevent the perceived imminent terrorist attack on our country.

As for Gergely Gulyás, he’s a total hack. He always says whatever the hell the party line is for that day, no matter how idiotic or illogical it is. It’s a shame as apparently he’s quite a clever and thoughtful guy from what I’ve heard so it’s too bad he’s serving the dark side.


Currently the taliban makes a good deal of money out of selling opium, because selling opium is banned. There’s a certain truth to the argument.


Surely the Hungarian language qualifies as working crypto?



Nope, but it is a pretty decent obfuscation.

So no banking then?


Didn’t Hungary used to have a reputation for being the especially techie(hardware in particular)-competent former soviet holding?

I take it that I’m either in error or they’ve decided to abandon that as much as possible.

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I wonder if they actually believe somebody will obey them.

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Can anyone think of a happy politics story that involves aging rural reactionaries getting their way? I’m having a hard time here; though admittedly I’m from the demographic who would tend to call them ‘hicks in the sticks’ for brevity’s sake, so I’m hardly unbiased.

You’re not wrong. It’s just that the stratum of tech-savvy people in Hungary is far outnumbered by the masses of less sophisticated folks, for whom this message is intended. The former group is less likely to support the ruling government anyway.

And because media is extremely segmented here, it is unlikely that the latter group will hear any voices challenging the government’s position. Mass media in Hungary nowadays either serves up pro-government propaganda or ignores politics altogether.

My prediction is that the government will let this idea of banning crypto percolate through the media for a while, then it will be dropped and forgotten. But it will have served a useful PR purpose for the government, and that will be enough.

When marriage is outlawed, only outlaws will have in-laws.


I think it’s less the taliban and more our allied war lords - but your point stands : )

And it is possible to find examples where “if X are banned only bad people will do/have X” is mostly valid, though I’m still uncomfortable with the argument. The phrase is often meant as “you do/have X, therefore you’re a bad person”, and this is simply not true.

Every X has also legitimate use cases, even if they are illegal: Drugs can be used recreational, encryption for perfectly legal communication, guns for skeet shooting. The argument is black&white, the world is too complex to use such a simple explanation formula.

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Depends on who defines “bad”.

It’s often not worth trying to be “good”. The cost can be too high.

Hungarian law enforcement can’t surveil communications written on paper after the recipient has burned the paper to ash. So what gets banned – flammable paper or fire? I would assume the paper, as that’s the device with which the communication is actually performed, but that can be surveilled as long as it doesn’t meet flame. So it’s really the fire that interferes with the surveillance.


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