The collecting State – A study about Argentina and citizens’ personal data
Every Argentine citizen is aware of the numerous proceedings, complex or not, which require that we submit our National ID Card (DNI). Such situation occurs every day: banking operations, buying long distance tickets and entering public and private buildings which require the submission of a card that has been with us since 1968, when the Executive Order 17671, issued by Juan Carlos Onganía, created the DNI as a document to identify all citizens. Many societies would be surprised to see these little cards present in our daily life: there are many countries which do not have unique systems for identifying citizens and, when they tried to impose them, such systems failed given the strong rejection by the community.
Public policies for identifying, registering and classifying “national human potential” became more efficient and effective with technological advances. We changed from stored files which could be reviewed upon a person’s request to digital information on computer systems for storage and verification. The unique DNI, which will become effective as from 2015, will allow all Argentine citizens’ data to integrate a unique database of biometric digitalized information.
Technological advances regarding classification of Argentines’ filiation data have spread, in general, through every area of the State. The information which was previously collected in analogue format is now obtained in digital format, which makes it more useful: digital formats enable automated analysis, remote access and low cost reproduction. However, such greater effectiveness has created new risks that did not arise with analogue systems.