Presidential hopeful Marcelo Ebrard recently unveiled Plan Angel, a security initiative designed to combat crime in Mexico through advanced technological tools such as drones, AI and facial recognition, among other tools. Although the plan has sparked concerns over privacy and human rights, its proposal has catalyzed the urgent need for a comprehensive cybersecurity legislation in Mexico.
Ebrard's ambitious initiative promises to make Mexico City "one of the safest cities in the world." Plan Angel involves integrating facial recognition technology and AI analytics into urban surveillance cameras to detect criminal activity and analyze mobility patterns across the country. However, some are apprehensive about the potential trade-offs, as the plan involves granting the National Guard unprecedented surveillance power, which may inadvertently impinge upon citizens' freedom of mobility and overall privacy.
Plan Angel could serve as a catalyst for the public to take cybersecurity legislation seriously and address the currently stalled laws surrounding digital security, argues cybersecurity expert Oscar Sánchez Belmont. Embracing the plan will necessitate the development of a comprehensive Cybersecurity Law and to pave the way for the establishment of the Cyberspace National Agency in Mexico, he argues. Such a law would be essential in enhancing cybersecurity resilience across critical industries like healthcare, manufacturing, finance and mining, among many others.
The Plan Angel initiative has raised concerns among many. For example, Juan Manuel Aguilar, Researcher, UNAM, has voiced concerns over its potential infringement on digital human rights and the promotion of militarization. Key issues such as internet censorship, invasion of privacy and the risk of cybersecurity prosecution militarization need to be revisited to establish a more balanced legal framework.
"This law is categorized as a national security law but it is not only about national security; it covers security in the entire concept of society," says Alberto Friedmann, President, CANIETI. Moreover, Friedmann warned Mexican citizens that granting greater powers to security officials in the country may give them the opportunity of becoming invasive and pose a threat to the privacy of both companies and civil society.
Plan Angel's primary objective is to create a national security ecosystem powered by AI to consolidate scattered criminal data across the country. This initiative would enable the National Guard to locate, track and investigate suspicious activities deemed as national security threats. However, before its full implementation, a robust Mexican Cybersecurity Law is vital as to define clear boundaries that prevent the overreach of the National Guard's powers when dealing with criminal activity.
By addressing the shortcomings of the existing Cybersecurity Law, Mexico can pave the way for a secure digital future while upholding the principles of a democratic and technologically advanced nation.