CSOs call for halt on development and deployment of massive personal data processing technologies
On the international Data Protection Day, the Association for Civil Rights (ADC), Access Now, Fundación Vía Libre, and the Observatorio de Derecho Informático Argentino (Argentinian Computer Law Observatory – O.D.I.A.) submitted an open letter to the Executive and Legislative Powers, demanding a halt in the development and implementation of technologies involving massive processing of personal data until more information on them is given, computer security is improved and democratic mechanisms are established to make decisions on the use of these systems.
In recent years, the National Government has become a major trespasser in terms of processing the population’s personal data. Last year alone, information included in ID cards, such as photo and processing numbers, was leaked from the National Registry of Persons (RENAPER), no authority in charge of applying the Data Protection Law was appointed, and the government announced that the census to be carried out this year would be linked, for the first time in history, to a univocal identification data such as the DNI, thus eliminating the guarantee of anonymity by providing sensitive information.
“We need to have clear and precise information of the means with which government protects our personal data” expresses Alejandro Segarra, ADC’s head of Strategic Litigation. “Its use from different applications to exercise citizen rights is increasingly common, and thus, its protection becomes a priority issue.”
These serious incidents take place in an adverse context. Our Data Protection Law was passed more than 20 years ago and is outdated due to the advance of technology. The IT security research community is persecuted every time it reports on vulnerabilities in the public information system, and the authorities continue to develop and implement technologies without transparency, security mechanisms or privacy impact studies.
“The Argentinian population is totally exposed when it comes to the protection of their personal data,” says Beatriz Busaniche, Director of Fundación Vía Libre. “Authorities must improve their practices, the norms, and their transparency if they want to continue creating and deploying technologies that involve the processing of personal data.”
“Argentina is one of the few, if not the only country in the region where personal data protection is not part of the public agenda,” points out Gaspar Pisanu, Public Policy Leader for Latin America. “Neighboring countries have already updated their regulations or are discussing a project on the matter,” he adds.