Officials report breaches of judicial data security

When it was passed in July 2009, the  Plataforma de Investigación Policial was seen as a great crime-fighting tool. All the police agencies would have access to a single data base that would include information about individuals culled from the public record and the computers systems of other agencies.

The information would be as detailed to include what municipalities have on their citizens.

This was the same law that made police wiretapping easier and assessed prison as a penalty for wearing a police uniform when committing a crime.

The project did not work out as planned because technicians found that a lot of governmental and other agencies did not want to cooperate freely.

Officials were planning to propose new legislation that would give them guaranteed access.

Police officials at the time said that the public should not have fears about this new system, despite the Big Brother characteristics. The system would be controlled tightly with levels of access, they said. The law even says that the penalty for illegally using the system is from two to eight years in prison.

Well, the tip of the iceberg surfaced Tuesday when the Poder Judicial reported that four prosecutors and 24 judicial agents are suspected of illegally accessing the files of  Keylor Navas, the goalkeeper on the national soccer team.

Jorge Chavarría Guzmán, the fiscal general or chief prosecutor, was reported to have ordered a disciplinary investigation by the  Inspección Fiscal last week against three persons. The data snatching includes Navas and some relatives, the Poder Judicial said.

The judiciary reported later Tuesday that  Zarela Villanueva, the president of the Corte Suprema de Justicia, is asking for a report from officials after the Judicial Investigating Organization said that 24 of its agents had done the same thing.

She was quoted as saying the actions were very grave, completely unacceptable and without any justification when someone is not a suspect in a crime.  At the same time, the judiciary said there were 51 separate searches involving the soccer player. This happened during July and August. The World Cup for soccer was held in Brazil in mid-July, and Navas was a star.

The court president also was quoted as calling for a disciplinary investigation instead of a criminal one.

The spying on the soccer player is the latest in cases involving secret judicial data bases. A private investigator has begun a campaign to again make public the identities of individuals involved in court cases. He reported that his workers had been approached by individuals who wanted to sell access.

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