ADC requests information from Census Bureau (INDEC) and expresses concern about the lack of accessibility and data protection
In mid-March, Argentina’s first digital census was launched. It consists of an online form to be completed so as to speed up the procedure scheduled for May 17. Although the goal is to include the entire population and create alternative information-gathering tools, by no means should it be done in disregard of fundamental rights. The lack of information on personal data security and the poor accessibility of the digital form raises our deepest concern, in light of a fundamental duty such as the Census 2022.
The Association for Civil Rights (ADC) has filed an Access to Public Information Request to the National Bureau of Statistics and Census (INDEC) to provide us with details on the security measures taken to protect people’s data and guarantee anonymity, as well as the digital accessibility standards considered when developing the form.
Over the past few years, the National Government’s databases have suffered several security incidents that put the population’s data at risk. These events were minimized by the authorities in charge, who did not respond to the requests for access to information on the data security policies being implemented that we submitted. To date, little is known about the origin of these mishaps and the measures taken after they occurred. The 2022 Census will collect information on more than forty-five million inhabitants, and a clear knowledge of how it will be protected is essential.
On the other hand, the census form also raises questions as to its digital accessibility standards. Organizations of people with disabilities have already begun to manifest the problems encountered when trying to complete the online form. It was detected that there are no accessibility criteria, thus presenting barriers to universal access, especially for people with disabilities, low digital literacy, or poor connectivity. In this respect, users seeking to navigate through keyboards or screen readers fail to do so. In addition, the site lacks simple language, clear procedures, and adequate time to solve them, since updating occurs within short periods, and users are forced to scroll through the text all over again.
We are still expecting a response from INDEC on the parameters established in the development of the digital census and thus, avoid an infringement of rights.