Colombian police ‘steal personal data’ of 31 million citizens

Anthony Cotrino SossaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The National Police Force of Colombia have stolen the contents of an enormous electronic database containing the personal information of over 31 million Colombian citizens, according to news reports from Bogotá. News of the alleged theft surfaced following a formal complaint filed by the Colombian government’s National Registry on Tuesday. According to the complaint, authored by the Registry’s Director, Anthony Cotrino Sossa, two police officers visited the Registry’s offices late last week, saying they wished to access data relating to a specific investigation concerning “election irregularities” in Colombia’s western Cauca state. The two police officers were given access to the data after displaying the appropriate warrant. However, according to Sossa’s complaint, instead of simply accessing limited information relating directly to their investigation, the police officers proceeded to physically and illegally remove two hard-drives containing millions of citizens’ private data. The database stored in the hard-drives contains, among other things, general biographical information, fingerprint samples, as well as residential and other contact information on over 31 million Colombians. Sossa claims in his complaint that police officers transported the hard-drives to the headquarters of Colombia’s Cyber-Police Division, which allegedly failed to respond to repeated calls by National Registry for their prompt return. The hard-drives were eventually returned to the National Registry building on the following Monday without any explanation having been given for their removal. This is the latest in a long series of scandals concerning the activities of Colombia’s chronically corrupt and inefficient law enforcement and intelligence services. Read more of this post

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US to stop funding scandal-prone Colombian spy agency

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
The US Congress has voted to stop subsidizing Colombia’s soon-to-be dismantled Administrative Department of Security (DAS) intelligence agency. The Colombian government recently decided to disband DAS, after it was found to have illegally wiretapped the phones of several public figures, including the chief of the Colombian National Police, the minister of defense, as well as those of former Presidents, Supreme Court judges, prominent journalists, union leaders and human rights campaigners. The activities of the scandal-prone agency had not, until now, affected US-Colombian relations, nor had they dampened US-Colombian intelligence cooperation. Read more of this post

Charges finally announced in Colombia wiretap scandal

Alvaro Uribe

Alvaro Uribe

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Colombia’s chief prosecutor has finally announced criminal charges against ten former government officials accused of spying on political opponents of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. As intelNews reported in April, Colombia’s Administrative Department of Security (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, or DAS) suffered one of the most extensive purges in its history, when 22 (later joined by 11 more) of its detectives were fired for illegally wiretapping several public figures. Those targeted by the wiretaps included the chief of the Colombian National Police, minister of defense Juan Manuel Santos, former President Cesar Gaviria, supreme court judges, prominent journalists, union leaders and human rights campaigners. Read more of this post

More agents fired in Colombian wiretap scandal probe

Juan M. Santos

Juan M. Santos

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Last April, Colombia’s Administrative Department of Security (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, or DAS) suffered one of the most extensive purges in its history, when 22 of its detectives were fired in connection with an investigation into illegal wiretapping against several public figures in Colombian political life. On Saturday, the scandal-plagued agency firedanother 11 of its operatives, which raises the running total of purged DAS agents to 33. Last April, intelNews reportedthat those targeted by the illegal wiretappers included Supreme Court judges, prominent journalists, as well as the chief of the Colombian National Police, former president Cesar Gaviria, and even the minister of defense Juan Manuel Santos. Read more of this post

Analysis: Major Colombian wiretap scandal explained

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Last April, Colombia’s Administrative Department of Security (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, or DAS) suffered one of the most extensive purges in its history, when 22 of its detectives were fired in connection with an investigation into illegal wiretapping against several public figures in Colombian political life. Those targeted by the illegal wiretappers included Supreme Court judges, prominent journalists, as well as the chief of the Colombian National Police, former president Cesar Gaviria, and even the minister of defense Juan Manuel Santos. Investigative reporter Joseph Huff-Hanon has produced what in this writer’s opinion is the best English-language analysis of the political dimension of the Colombian wiretap scandal. Read more of this post

Agents fired as probe into Colombian wiretap scandal continues

Juan M. Santos

Juan M. Santos

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Colombia’s Administrative Department of Security (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, or DAS) suffered one of the most extensive purges in its history this week, when 22 of its detectives were fired in connection with an investigation into illegal wiretapping. Last January, the scandal-prone counterintelligence service was revealed to have engaged in systematic communications interception against several public figures in Colombian political life. Those targeted included Supreme Court judges, prominent journalists, as well as the chief of the Colombian National Police, former president Cesar Gaviria, and even the minister of defense Juan Manuel Santos. The warrantless interceptions appeared to be part of a concerted effort to discover the “vices and weaknesses” of public figures, including “details about sexual preferences”, extra-marital affairs, and liquor or drug habits. Read more of this post