Hungary's Ministry of National Development (MND) quietly plans to spend 12 billion forints ($52,615,440 in USD) on a real-time, nationwide license plate-monitoring system tied to e-tolls. What follows is a translation of a post on Gawker's Hungarian-language site Cink, that I asked my friend's father to help with.

This friend's father is Hungarian, as should have been inferred from context clues. (Please, also, visit the original post by Szily László out of due deference.)

Translation credit to Imre Farkas. MP

The idiotic, scary plan even upset [conservative party VP] Lajos Kósa [who is big on national security bullshit, just like American conservatives]. With the e-toll system, every car on the road would be under constant surveillance; the system would record the location of every motorist second-by-second.

There is only one new invention and new rule missing: a television set always on (turning it off would be against the law) recording everything I do in my apartment. Then we could say that the Brave New World has arrived.

This was said by none other than Lajos Kósa, vice president of Fidesz [or the Hungarian Civic Alliance, the nation's most prominent conservative political party, currently in power, obviously — MP] chairman of the Defense Committee of the Hungarian Parliament on July 4th — when he learned that the Development Ministry is planning to install a system to identify and monitor every license plate number on the road. The system would be constructed by an as-yet-unnamed private company, loyal to the government.

This Orwellian plan was recorded in the parliament committee minutes. The Committee did not want to solicit for public proposals for the 12 billion-forint plan and asked for an exception from the customary rules. Although Lajos Kósa's initial reaction was as it should be, party discipline won out, and the government's request for the exception was granted. The members of the opposition sitting on the committee should have objected.

Typically, they did nothing.


[The Fidesz] is perfectly adapted to the inept, incompetent and lazy Hungarian opposition: This all happened exactly a week ago, right there in a committee where the forefront of the opposition, Agnes Vadai, was sitting. And [The Fidesz] did this killer big scandal, but the opposition did nothing.

Then I wrote that thing about it today at Which should not be confused with [some sort of sardonic Hungarian pun-humor that is riffing on the website's name, and is too culturally specific to explain]!

[image screencapture via the Michael Radford film adaptation of 1984, Nineteen Eighty-Four]

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