Mexico uptick in government data requests prompts privacy concerns

An uptick in government surveillance requests in Mexico has privacy advocates troubled that the country does not have the supervision in place that it needs to protect sensitive information.

An uptick in government surveillance requests in Mexico has officials and politicians troubled that the country does not have the supervision in place that it needs to keep sensitive information from falling to those who don't have a right to ask for it.

The number of requests from authorities in Mexico for mobile records grew to 55,000 last year, up nearly 25 percent  from the year before, the Buenos Aires Herald cited Reuters as reporting. Privacy advocates are particularly concerned because of Mexico's high rate of corruption – it is not uncommon for criminals and security to work in concert. What's more, a telecommunications reform law passed in the country in 2014 could pave the way for greater government spying while the country's legal standard for surveillance approval is less stringent than in other countries.

“Nobody watches the watchman,” the Herald cited former congressman Juan Pablo Adame, a member of the National Action Party (PAN), as saying. The report explained that just three percent of the data requests made in Mexico got a judicial review. The remaining requests fell to mobile companies to approve. The Herald report also noted that if they don't comply with requests, mobile companies could face punishment by regulators.