MONTEVIDEO – A Uruguayan NGO has asked the courts to order the government to provide information about a cellphone and Internet surveillance system acquired for law enforcement purposes, one of the plaintiffs told Efe on Tuesday.
Attorney Tania Da Rosa, executive director of the Center for Archives and Access to Public Information, or Cainfo, said the motion filed Monday aims to force the Interior Ministry to comply with Uruguay’s law mandating freedom of information.
Cainfo requested information about the $2 million “Guardian” surveillance system when it was bought last October from a company in Brazil, but has received no response.
Guardian, which is expected to become operational soon, allows up to 30 people to simultaneously access real-time surveillance of traffic generated by up to 800 mobile phones and 200 fixed-line telephones.
It also allows for the creation of mirror accounts of up to 100 e-mail subscribers and the monitoring of up to three social networks.
“Cainfo has not adopted an explicit position against this system, among other reasons because we do not have information,” Da Rosa said. “We need the information to understand which safeguards are considered.”
Da Rosa said the system’s implementation “is being handled with much secrecy.”
The purchase of the Guardian system was approved last year by then-President Jose Mujica, according to Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi, who said the executive order stated that the acquisition “should remain secret.”