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  • Presidential Minister Victor Morales resigned after being questioned by the legislative assembly.

    Presidential Minister Victor Morales resigned after being questioned by the legislative assembly. | Photo: EFE

Published 4 March 2020
Opinion

A data analysis section installed within executive offices has been compiling and analyzing private personal data for years.

Four top Costa Rican officials, including the president’s top ally, stepped down Wednesday amid a federal probe over the illegal use of private personal data. 

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A data analysis section installed within executive offices has been compiling and analyzing private personal data requested from various government entities for the past decade, purportedly to help in the development of public policies.

The issue is that said unit had no legal right to do so until the government published a decree last month granting it the authorization to ask other government bodies for confidential personal data.

After the move sparked outrage, the government revoked the decree.

Yet the Attorney General’s Office announced last week the launch of an investigation against the president and others for violation of personal data and abuse of authority. The presidential offices, the planning ministry and the homes of four officials were subsequently raided.

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado said that he acknowledged some mistakes were made.

“There was at least an error, a political clumsiness because that’s what it is,” he said last week.

His closest ally, Presidential Minister Victor Morales was forced to resign Wednesday after he was closely questioned by the legislative assembly over the creation of the data unit.

Morales said lawmakers were considering his censure and it was impossible for him to continue in his position. But he announced he would resume his duties as a deputy of his political party at the legislative assembly, a function he used to occupy before joining Alvarado’s government last year.

His resignation followed those of Alvarado’s legal adviser, the vice-minister of planning and vice minister of the treasury.

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