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Big Brother About To Be Real in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica News – For all those that have not read Orwell’s 1984, he is not too far off when it comes to Big Brother and modern day.  He might have just had the year a little wrong.  Welcome the inception of the Internet.

big-brother-1984-orwell-1Careful of the information you give your telecommunications operator. This because the Ministry of Finance (Ministerio de Hacienda) has the authority to assess personal data of customers of telecom operators in the country.

A new resolution by the Agencia de Protección de Datos de los Habitantes (Prodhab) del Ministerio de Justicia (Data Protection Agency of Inhabitant of the Ministry of Justice) allows the tax department to obtain the information for “tax related matters, but not for other uses that is not of public interest”.

To that end, the tax department can demand from telecom operators five items of personal information: name of the subscriber, identification number (ie cedula or passport), contracted service, exact address and phone number of the subscriber.

According to the Prodhab resolution, access to the information does not require prior consent of the user.

Following a request of its customer data, on May 20, Millicom (Tigo) filed with the Prodhab a complaint against the Directorate of Tax Intelligence of the Ministry of Finance.

The claim did not prosper. On August 5, the Prodhad ruled that Millicom was to immediately hand over its customer database. The company filed an appeal, but on September 9 the Prodhad once again rejected the claim.

Norman Chaves, manager of Corporate Affairs at Tigo, told La Nacion that the company has handed over to authorities their complete customer database, as requested.

From QCostaRica, Edited by Dan Stevens

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