Impact | Negative
Civicus Rating | Limited
On February 10, and almost a year after its installation, the Special Committee investigating the alleged use of confidential information of Costa Ricans by the Presidential Data Analysis Unit (UPAD, in Spanish) summoned President Carlos Alvarado Quesada to provide explanations before the Legislative Assembly.
During eight hours, the president defended the existence of the UPAD and maintained that “the data analysis team did not work in a hidden manner, there was no espionage, data was never used for electoral purposes or to benefit a third party and there was no misuse of public funds”. However, he admitted errors in the interpretation of article 7 of the creation decree that made reference to the possibility of accessing confidential data of the citizens to carry out research and evaluation of public policies. It should be remembered that the public reaction generated by this measure led to its repeal just four days after its publication, on February 17, 2020.
Since the Constitution of Costa Rica does not recognize the figure of impeachment, the action of the Special Investigative Committee will be limited to the preparation of a report with recommendations that must then be approved by the Legislative Assembly. In parallel, the Costa Rican Prosecutor’s Office last month ordered the opening of mobile phones and other electronic devices seized from the Presidential House in February 2020 as part of the investigation against Alvarado for the alleged crimes of violation of personal data, abuse of authority and prevaricate.