In the first three days of validity of the online Census system, they have already registered 50,000 households across the page censusonline.censoecuador.gob.ec. However, in this same period a controversy has arisen, especially on social networks, about the request or requirement to grant the identity card number of the citizen who is registered and of the members of his household, on the website.
For example, the sociologist Agustín Burbano de Lara considered it a mistake to ask for the citizen’s identity card number. This is because normally a census has been anonymous. “Historically, census questionnaires have been anonymous to protect the right to privacy. If the INEC asks you for the identity card of all the members of the household (not to validate the user) all the information collected will be associated with you, ”he said in his messages on networks.
He considered that there are security and financial risks. It is that these data could be used in market studies of mass consumer goods, real estate and services. Micro-segmentation of electoral messages could be done.
About the topic, the director of the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC), Roberto Castillo, believes that the first figures obtained are a good start and confirmed that it is expected to reach one million registered households in a month. Census information will be available beginning in May 2023.
He explained that these first 72 hours there have been comments from users in the sense that the application did not allow resident foreigners to be registered. And on the other hand, there were intermittence problems for a specific period of 15 minutes in the step about locating the house on the map.
Meanwhile, regarding the request for the identity card number, Castillo said that INEC is empowered to request this data. “To do the census online, the ID of at least one person in the household is required. This in order to be able to register in the system. Within the system, it is optional that you enter the identity card number of the household members,” he said. He added that the most important thing is that citizens remain calm and do not fall into disinformation. He explained that if citizens provide the ID number, this “will allow us to improve the quality of the census.”
It also ensured that the information It will be used for statistical purposes only. He recalled that the INEC has a law that dates back to 1976 and that in its articles 21 and 22 it establishes that the information collected can only be used for statistical purposes. and explained that the Personal Data Protection Law It also guarantees the proper use of the data.
He indicated that historically, censuses since 1950 have required personal information of names and surnames, and recognized that now in 2022 the ID number is a variable that has been introduced. But he assured that this allows the INEC to interoperate with other registries or sources of data that already exists. In any case, he said he was surprised that certain former officials of the entity who, when they were in office, carried out surveys requesting the identity card number, are now opposed to it.
In any case, he said that if the issue of the identity card is sensitive to them, then they should not grant it. “The spirit of requesting is to feed the information that already exists in a greater way” and avoid requesting additional information from citizens in the future.
He also explained that the idea of the online census is to make it easier for people who work or who are not at home all the time so that they can obtain the certificate that must be delivered to the census takers who will go through the homes in person between the November 7 and December 18, 2022. (I)