While Peruanos were busy pre-gaming for their independence day celebrations this week, the government gave police access to citizens’ cell phone data without the need of a warrant under legislative decree No. 1182. The decision was not reached by a congressional vote; instead, it was passed by President Ollanta Humala under his recently granted special powers, according to The Guardian. The new order also grants police geolocation data and the right to keep their findings for three years.
The government argues that it’s a necessary step to fight extortion, cocaine trafficking, and illegal logging, among other crimes. There are safeguards in place so that the police does not abuse its power. They can only get citizens’ data for flagrant crimes punishable by more than four years in jail or when the information is necessary to a police investigation, La Republica reports. But what counts as necessary? Police officers are also still supposed to get approval by a judge to use the information in court, though digital rights attorney Erick Iriarte is not convinced this will stop cops from taking it too far. He said that a judge “could revoke the use of the data, [if I am the police] I already have the data.” The police will have a 30-day training period so that they can better develop protocols.
Not shockingly, Peruvians are not cool with handing police access to their data, calling it a stalker law and an invasion of their privacy. Check out some of their thoughts below.