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Prosecutor’s Office raids Costa Rican presidency for alleged violation of citizens’ privacy

February 28, 2020

The Prosecutor’s Office in Costa Rica raided the Presidential House on Friday as part of an investigation into a government unit for data analysis, on suspicion that the body has violated people’s privacy.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office conducted 10 raids on Casa Presidencial, the Ministry of Planning and four private residences, the agency said in a statement, noting that eight people are being investigated as part of the case, including President Carlos Alvarado.

In addition to President Alvarado, the investigation — which is focusing on possible violations of personal data and abuse of authority — includes the Minister of the Presidency, Victor Morales, and the three members of the Presidential Data Analysis Unit (UPAD).

“We are open to all judicial requirements by the prosecution,” said Minister of Communication Nancy Marin in a video distributed by the presidency.

Alvarado admitted that “mistakes were made” with the creation of UPAD and said he would collaborate with the investigations to prove that there was no violation of privacy.

“There is an issue of great national importance, which is the protection of personal data,” ombudswoman Catalina Crespo said earlier this week after meeting with President Alvarado to discuss the Presidential Data Analysis Unit.

The existence of that unit, heavily publicized last week along the decree that had created it, aroused strong criticism for the possibility of allowing the government access to information considered confidential.

President Alvarado last Friday repealed the decree that had created UPAD and on Sunday ordered the suspension of its work to facilitate the investigation.

The Minister of Communication, Nancy Marín, explained that the creation of the unit was meant for the government to have “accurate and timely information to guide public policy.”

This is a developing story and will be updated with further information.

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