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Raid in Hungary: Scientology’s Cold War tactics are colliding with 21st Century data privacy

[Police outside the Budapest org. Photo: Szabó Gábor]

Yesterday, when we saw news stories pop up briefly announcing that the Budapest Scientology “Ideal Org” was raided by police, we knew just who to turn to. Those stories said that some 50 police officers carried out the raid, but there were virtually no other details. So we asked our man in Hungary, Péter Bonyai, for the inside scoop. Here’s what he told us late last night…

The police, understandably, aren’t saying much, but the the crackdown seems to be a direct consequence of an ongoing investigation conducted by the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. This review was started more than 10 months ago, in December, and presumably they went through the policies and practices of the Church with a fine-tooth comb. According to insiders, that review was completed the day before yesterday.

I am sure you know that due to the unalterable nature of L. Ron Hubbard’s policies, the Church is stuck in a Cold War espionage mindset which is completely at odds with modern-day privacy and data protection regulations. (And here, those are essentially EU regulations which were introduced in Hungary as part of the “harmonization of law” process.)

The whole text of the law is available here, but three select quotes might illustrate this point:

1) Personal data may be processed only for specified and explicit purposes, where it is necessary for the exercising of certain rights and fulfillment of obligations.


2) The personal data processed must be essential for the purpose for which it was recorded, and it must be suitable to achieve that purpose. Personal data may be processed to the extent and for the duration necessary to achieve its purpose.

3) It also gives the right to have all your personal information deleted. “The data subject’s objection” shall mean a declaration made by the data subject objecting to the processing of his/her personal data and requesting the termination of data processing, as well as the deletion of the data processed.

If you know something about Scientology, you know that the church, in its most basic processes, is completely in violation of these concepts.

Three examples of violations:

1) The Church uses various forms to gather extensive amount of personal and sensitive information on its staff members (and their non-Scientologist relatives and friends, which is even more problematic and very illegal, as they obviously did not give their consent for that), which go way beyond the scope allowed by this law. Just look at the Life History Form and the Sea Org Application Form, which the Underground Bunker covered.

2) The concept of “HCO” Confessionals/Sec Checks (investigatory auditing not covered by priest-penitent privilege), which I am sure you are familiar with.

3) The smear pages and attack websites they put up – at least in the EU, they are sure as hell not supposed to retain any information on ex-members without their consent and should delete any information and destroy all folders if requested.

My best guess is that that the Hungarian National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information gathered enough evidence about specific violations of data protection regulations that warranted a massive raid.

— Péter Bonyai

Thank you, Péter. It’s at times like these that we marvel at the situation here in the United States, where for more than 60 years, a totalitarian organization has operated with impunity as it extorts from people deeply personal information not only about themselves, but about people close to them who might have nothing to do with the organization. And then uses that information to blackmail and destroy people, well documented in court cases going back decades. Europe is way ahead of us in data privacy laws — are they the key to finally stopping Scientology’s use of private information to wreck lives and rip apart families?

So often here in the U.S., we are asked if law enforcement can ever find fresh enough evidence of Scientology’s abuses to lay charges. But as this raid suggests, law enforcement can do something right now about how Scientology operates in its most basic ways — with intrusive data gathering, financial extortion, and blackmail. Sure, it’s always hard to prosecute things like assault or child abuse when victims take so long to come forward, but Scientology is sec checking and regging people in outrageous ways every day of the week in this country. What is it going to take?


Getting the celebrity treatment

Fresh off her highly successful trips to Int Base and the Pasadena Org, Erin Hodges Plumb made yet another excursion to a Scientology facility, this time to the Hollywood Celebrity Centre.

“There’s a sign out in front that says open house and tours so as I went up there and asked the security guard for a tour,” says the irrepressible former middle school teacher. “He radioed for somebody to come and give me a tour and that’s when he asked me about Karen Pressley’s book. I told him the book was written by someone who used to work there at the Celebrity Centre and that’s why I wanted to see it. He took the book from me and was thumbing through it, and then he decided that I had the wrong information about Scientology.”


“So I said, show me the right information, and he told me to find it on the Internet.”

When he asked her to leave, Erin did so.

She also told us about a little blowback she’s getting from her earlier capers. Scientology’s Muriel Dufrasne called recently and complained about Erin’s activities to the stake president of the Hemet Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, where Erin was once a member. The stake president in turn called Erin.

“He said he wanted to keep positive relationships with all of the churches in the area. I told him I wished he was calling to check on me or my husband, but he called about this.”

Erin says it won’t affect her. She later went to the stake president’s office and formally resigned from the church.

She said she’d keep us informed if Scientology tries any other funny moves.


Bonus items from our tipsters

Actual caption: “This Sunday at Stevens Creek Org – a first-time visit by acclaimed actress Kelly Preston! Spanning over 3 decades, her films include: Jerry Maguire, Twins, For the Love of the Game, The Cat in the Hat, From Dusk Till Dawn, Addicted to Love, Christine, Sky High and Space Camp, among many many others. She is passionate about the war on the psychiatric drugging of children and is a CCHR spokesperson. This will be her topic of discussion. This is a free event. Bring everyone! 1pm this Sunday.”



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,907 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 53 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,116 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,890 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,664 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,010 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,504 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,544 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,256 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 782 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,871 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,011 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,331 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,306 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 662 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,964 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,070 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,473 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,346 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 927 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,432 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,676 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,785 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 19, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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