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Chapter: 

III. Privacy topics

Major Privacy Cases

In August 2004 and during the following months, the registry of signers of the Presidential Recall Referendum Petition of President Chavez (revocatoria del mandato presidencial, or RPP)1 was made available on the Website of the Congressman Luis Tascón (www.luistascon.com), who belongs to the official party in an unlawful way. This register, called "The Tascon List" or "The List," was created with the objective that followers of President Chavez could verify whether the signers of the RPP had or had not been fraudulently included on that list. On April 15, 2005, the President of the Republic recognized the existence of "The List" and made an appeal to the regional authorities to archive and bury it.2 Nevertheless, there have been many complaints received by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights indicating a worrisome trend in discriminatory actions against persons who signed the RPP."3 The complaints "alleged that "The List" is still being used to limit the signers’ access to basic services and social welfare programs, and that they continue being dismissed or refused employment in private firms as well as in state enterprises."4

In May 2007, allegations were reported in several newspapers that public employees are being required to join the government’s single unity political party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV)) under the threat of job termination and the announcement of advantages such as inclusion in social missions and educational programs. The employees were also informed that personal data about political affiliations are being used for discriminatory purposes.5 However, Government officials have denied this statement.6

Voting privacy

The Organic Law on Suffrage and Political Participation was enacted on December 13, 1997.7 This law introduces the use of electronic voting machines to automate the upcoming elections.8 There have been seven totally automated elections managed by Indra Systems, a Spanish firm with extensive experience in Europe and, since 2004, by Smartmatic, founded by Venezuelan engineers, under a bid approved by the National Electoral Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral, or CNE). Smartmatic operated the 2004 e-voting election for the presidential recall referendum.9