Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Political spying in Mexico

Another bit of political culture in Mexico. How vital is spying to the PRI's power?

Government Spying Allegations in Mexico Spur Calls for Inquiry
After reports this week that sophisticated government-owned surveillance software was used to spy on some of Mexico’s most prominent journalists and activists, victims and others have demanded an independent inquiry into the allegations.

The calls came in response to an article by The New York Times and to a parallel report by several Mexican and international organizations, both of which found that the Israeli-made spyware, which was sold to the Mexican government on the strict condition that it be used only against terrorists and criminal groups, was deployed against some of the government’s most outspoken critics.

The software, called Pegasus, can infiltrate a smartphone and allow spies to monitor all activity on it, including calls, texts and emails…

Those calling for an investigation say the only way a truly independent inquiry can be guaranteed is to bring in an international team of experts…

A spokesman for the Peña Nieto administration [said] “For the government of the republic, the respect of privacy and the protection of personal data of all individuals are inherent values of our liberty, democracy and rule of law,”

Still, the findings provoked broad outrage, with many laying responsibility — if not for the spying itself, then at least to initiate a thorough inquiry — on the shoulders of the administration.

“This new, chilling evidence confirms that Mexican journalists and human rights defenders are a target of illegal practices designed to interfere and hinder their work,” Erika Guevara-Rosas, the Americas director at Amnesty International, said in a statement. The findings “show a clear pattern of illegal use of technology in an attempt to control any criticism against those in power.”…

The findings this week “only add to the idea that, rather than protecting the press, the Mexican government views it as a dissident group or even as an enemy,” Guillermo Osorno, a founder of Horizontal.mx, a digital magazine…

But the reaction was also mitigated somewhat by a certain cynicism in a country where wiretapping has been a time-honored tradition in politics, and allegations of spying by the government against its critics are not new…

But many commentators have been underwhelmed by the administration’s early response, which struck some as highly defensive and a reaffirmation of the widely held view that the government is more interested in preserving its authority than in enforcing the rule of law…

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At 8:59 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Mexican president denies spying on journalists, lawyers and activists

"Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has strongly denied his government spied on prominent journalists and activists by hacking their phones..."


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