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The abuse of political parties

The National Electoral Institute is one of the institutions Mexican citizens trust with their personal data yet our data isn't only known to the INE given that political parties also have access to it
INE personnel monitoring information – Photo: Germán/EL UNIVERSAL
18/02/2018
08:57
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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It's become common to receive in our personal email advertisements or messages from companies we've never been in contact with. It's also frequent to receive calls – in our fixed or mobile phones – from companies interested in offering us a product or service. Personal data has become a very attractive product, especially for commercial companies, despite there being a law protecting us from the bad use of our personal information.

Due to its role, the National Electoral Institute (INE) is one of the institutions Mexican citizens trust with their personal data. Yet our data isn't only known to the INE as political parties also have access to it...and it's here that we've documented evidence that our information is being misused.

In 2016, there were at least to known cases where the official voter's list was leaked. In April of that year, the INE said over 93 million of personal data had been on offer on Amazon; the center-left Citizen's Movement Party (MC) admitted the copy published in this site belonged to them but that the information had been obtained by hackers. This oversight cost millions to the political party.

Weeks later, another list was published on another website, with data of almost 2 million citizens from Sinaloa. And some years ago, it also became known that the official voter's list was up for sale in the Mexico City neighborhood of Tepito.

Now EL UNIVERSAL publishes that the INE has received 4,000 complaints against political parties who have affiliated citizens without their knowledge. How do they do it? Because they have access to the data of millions of citizens.

These discoveries are, mostly, accidental. Candidates to local offices or to members of the public electoral organizations have been rejected because they are listed as being members of a political party – without them having ever requested it.

Cases like the ones published today only reaffirm the lack of interest political parties have in abiding by the law. When selecting the candidates for the 2018 General Election, democracy was absent despite political parties being the first ones who should defend it. Then with our personal data, parties abuse of the information in their power to inflate their members' list.

Fully consolidating our democracy will remain an unobtainable goal as long as political parties keep cheating, breaking, or finding a loophole in our laws to achieve their objectives.

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