Two economic advisers in the office of President Carlos Alvarado, Alejandro Madrigal, and Andrés Villalobos, have been working for a year and a half, secretly collecting information and storage of private data of certain sectors of the population.

Andrés Villalobos (left) and Alejandro Madrigal (right) make up the UPAD unit that gathers confidential information on the citizenry

The work of the two advisers and the operation of the Unidad Presidencial de Análisis de Datos (UPAD) had been kept a secret.

This Friday CRHoy.com announced that President Alvarado signed a decree last October to create the UPAD (Presidential Data Analysis Unit), through which he intends to obtain confidential data of Costa Rican citizens.

After the first questioning, the Minister of Communication formalized the repeal of the decree, claiming that there will be dialogue on the issue. However, the reality is that the UPAD has been operating for more than 18 months.

Madrigal replied to inquiries made by CRhoy.com and confirmed that he and his partner Villalobos have been working on that line for a year and a half and that for 2020 ¢60 million colones were allocated for the purchase of modern computer equipment, including a new server, and software, for the UPAD operations.

The money to finance the group came from “an adjustment on some budget items”.

When asked about the government’s refusal to inform the population about the project despite having already signed the decree, Madrigal said they had “planned to publicize next March with the announcement of the platform.”

The truth is that President Alvarado never made public that he intended to create an office where he would handle confidential data on people, for the use of his office when making political decisions.

Contradictions. Madrigal gave details that contradict what was cited in the content of decree 41996-MP-MIDEPLAN, for the creation of UPAD, where assertions are made such as the dynamics of obtaining the confidential data managed by State institutions.

The advisor acknowledged that the confidential data they have handled in the last 18 months is only related to the socio-economic profile of certain groups of citizens.

However, the decree states that UPAD may access confidential information of each citizen, which is contained in the databases of centralized and decentralized institutions.