During the hearing, Alvarado assured that the work carried out was done transparently during the months that the investigating commission has been working.
- Casa Presidencial photo -

Published Thursday, February 11, 2021

The UPAD was created to help government
decision making, says President Alvarado

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

On Wednesday, President Carlos Alvarado before the Special Commission of Congress stated that all the work that was done through data analysis in the creation of the Presidential Unit for Data Analysis, known as UPAD, was to generate technical and scientific knowledge for government decision-making.

According to Alvarado, the work that was done (referring to UPAD) was in good faith and to better serve Costa Rica. "At all times we worked with the law and with the single goal of the public policy decisions that the government and the Presidency should make are based on scientific evidence and data, and not on improvising," Alvarado said.

"Looking into your eyes, I can tell you that not a single one of the five million Costa Ricans have been spied on or has seen their privacy compromised with the projects that were developed," he added.

During the hearing, Alvarado assured that the work carried out was done transparently during the months that the investigating commission has been working.  He said that there is no single concrete evidence has been found that shows that work was done in a hidden way before the publication of the decree of creation of UPAD, or that there is something related to espionage, or that data has been transferred to a private organization, or that it has been commercialized or used for the benefit of a third party or electoral purposes, or that there has been a misuse of public funds.

According to Alvarado, the UPAD was created to process useful information to make public policies more efficient. "If data were analyzed, as the most developed countries do to govern better, as an OECD member country would."

In 2014, the OECD, in its recommendations of the digital government strategies council, established as one of its standards is the public sector should be driven and guided by data and information, highlighting that data is a key enabler for sector institutions public work together, predict the needs of citizens, deliver results and respond to social changes, according to the government's statement.

The president also mentioned that the UPAD analyzed national issues such as social aid programs, preparation of a better budget, the impact of salary increases for public employees in the government budget, the Nicaraguan migration phenomenon, injection of funds to the National Commission of Emergencies, improvement of school infrastructure, national security, prison overcrowding, and application of justice.

The polemic special data collection unit became top news in April 2020, when Attorney General Emilia Navas authorized a raid of the Presidential House along with another ministry and some private homes.

The president and seven aides are facing possible crimes that have been listed as a personal data breach, abuse of authority and prevarication.
The legal term prevarication or perverting the course of justice is a crime that consists of an authority issuing an arbitrary resolution in an administrative or judicial matter knowing that said resolution is unfair and contrary to the law.

Judicial agents seized computers, cell phones and documents for the case. Among the confiscated are two cell phones and a computer assigned to President Alvarado.

Given the controversy created by this decree, a few hours into the investigation, President Alvarado revoked the decree and with it, the Presidential Unit for Data Analysis.

What have you heard about cases of illegal use of civilian data by the government of your country?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com


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