04 / 05 / 2024

With a call to unite the world in the fight against corruption, the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information, and Personal Data Protection (INAI), as the president of the Integrity Network, inaugurated the International Seminar entitled “Access to information and integrity as tools for combating corruption in the digital age.”

In the framework of the commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day 2023, which will be celebrated on December 9, the President Commissioner of INAI, Blanca Lilia Ibarra Cadena, on behalf of the Presidency of the Integrity Network, stated that the battle against corruption transcends national borders, requiring a united front and convergence of experiences and innovative solutions from various corners of the globe.

“It is imperative to unite the world in the fight against corruption, amalgamating our efforts through the use and promotion of access to information, integrity, and accountability, three pillars recognized in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the first universal and legally binding instrument against this scourge, which has already been ratified by 168 States,” she emphasized.

The International Seminar “Access to information and integrity as tools for combating corruption in the digital age” brings together representatives of the Integrity Network, composed of 19 institutions from four continents. Its objective is to share best practices, work plans, and mechanisms to promote integrity, as well as to combat corruption and impunity at all levels of public life.

In this context, Commissioner Adrián Alcalá Méndez stated that Artificial Intelligence offers different analytical capabilities to process and understand enormous volumes of data in fractions of seconds, which could prevent anomalies in public procurement and institutional processes by identifying possible acts of corruption.

“At INAI, we recognize the importance of leveraging information technologies and data-driven Artificial Intelligence, which must also be done in an ethical and responsible manner, while safeguarding privacy. This offers an unprecedented range of possibilities in the prevention and combat of corruption,” he pointed out.

In turn, Commissioner and Coordinator of the International Affairs Commission of INAI, Josefina Román Vergara, stated that, facing a problem as considerable as corruption, comprehensive strategies are required to achieve more efficient combat, where the use of new technologies represents a tremendous opportunity to confront this phenomenon head-on, which, we know, has diversified and has taken advantage of these new tools.

“It is essential to place digitization at the center of governments’ agendas, accompanied by concepts such as ethics and transparency by design (…) As guarantors of the right to privacy and the protection of personal data in Mexico – from INAI – we have worked, within different international networks, on the principles of transparency and explainability in Artificial Intelligence,” she pointed out.

In her turn, Commissioner Norma Julieta del Río Venegas pointed out that corruption is not limited to economic resources; it also involves altering databases, opacity in bidding prices, and influence peddling. Hence, she emphasized the importance of strengthening institutions that guarantee access to public information and compliance with the actions established to combat this crime, such as the Asset Declarations of public officials.

“The allegations of disorder within this Institution should be seen as an opportunity. Nowadays, the Federal Auditor’s Office is auditing us, and what could be better than more audits, to legitimize the work and prove that the misinformation spread about this Institute and some individuals, speaking for myself, is fallacious. And if there are claims of corruption inside, let’s face them, beyond mere rhetoric. Welcome reviews, and let those responsible be held accountable,” she emphasized.

In his speech, Giuseppe Busia, President of the National Anti-Corruption Authority of Italy and Vice President of the Network for Integrity, emphasized that combating corruption is a priority for the international community. He stated that for this effort to be truly effective, it is essential to have the commitment of public institutions, citizens, private companies, and civil society organizations. This will serve “not only to prevent the enormous economic and social damage caused by corrupt behavior but also to protect the rights of citizens and ensure the growth and progress of our democracies.”

In her intervention, Lilia Mónica López Benítez, Federal Judiciary Councilor, considered that while it is true that digital platforms in the governmental sector have favored accountability and efficiency in the provision of public services, technology alone cannot eradicate corruption. Additionally, “the digital divide, data security, and the need for a solid technological infrastructure are obstacles that we must overcome to ensure that these advances benefit all of our society, especially the most vulnerable people.”

In turn, Deputy Selene Ávila Flores, member of the Budget and Public Account Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, pointed out that democracy cannot be understood without solid institutions, separation of powers, constitutionally autonomous bodies that are strengthened, accountable, and work efficiently and effectively. “I want to highlight the enormous challenge that -INAI- faces in continuing to work with an incomplete Plenary; whoever dares to do that is because they love their country and love democracy,” she said.

Senator Germán Martínez Cázares, member of the Justice Committee of the Senate, after thanking and recognizing the work of Blanca Lilia Ibarra Cadena as President Commissioner of INAI, called for defending the Republic with the existing checks and balances. “We must defend the Republic, understanding it as an efficient public hospital, an efficient public school, public security, and public data for accountability. The Republic is public information.”

In his turn, the Executive Secretary of the National Anticorruption System (SNA), Roberto Moreno Herrera, emphasized that the value of the Convention lies in the recognition that combating corruption requires a systemic effort. Among the current challenges, he proposed transitioning from the National Digital Platform to the use of Artificial Intelligence, although he warned that this “means not only having a cloud, mathematical models, and algorithms, but having Big Data because if there is no data, there is no artificial intelligence.”

Finally, the Head of the Internal Control Body of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice, Carlos Alberto Muñoz Álvarez, highlighted that technology is a tool that has allowed the opening in the flow of information and consequently in the transparency of data of a public nature. “That is why it is vital for the fight against corruption to facilitate and optimize the detection of anomalies in the processes carried out by any governmental entity.”

Today, the High-Level Dialogue took place: Transparency, integrity, and public ethics: pillars in the fight against corruption in the 21st century; as well as the panels: Integrity and public ethics as a path to restore confidence in democratic institutions: convergent policies and shared values; and The construction of surveillance schemes, asset recovery, and public integrity as pillars in the fight against corruption.