Data Breach Exposes 300 At-Risk Journalists In Mexico

The personal details of more than 300 Mexican journalists have been compromised due to a recent government data breach there. The incident is part of broader concerns about ongoing threats to press freedom in Mexico, particularly at the hands of the major drug cartels that dominate law enforcement at all levels there.

The data breach took place as the Mexican government was processing accreditation applications for the daily news conferences held by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The information that was leaked includes personal identifying material including copies of voter ID cards, names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Mexico, as reported by Breitbart Texas, is one of the deadliest countries for journalists, with a history of violence and intimidation against the press. Press freedom organizations are expressing grave concern that the sensitive information leaked in the recent cybersecurity failure will be used by the drug cartels to threaten and harm journalists working to expose their organized criminal activities.

The National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information, and Personal Data Protection in Mexico is analyzing the suspected leak. Legal action may be pursued if the breach is found to have violated the law. However, the government’s response so far has been muted, with no immediate comment forthcoming from the Mexican authorities.

The recent incident echoes past data breaches in Mexico, including the infamous Guacamayaleaks, which exposed deep-seated issues like ties between politicians and cartels. The government’s lackadaisical approach to investigating previous data breaches leaves press organizations highly concerned about the privacy rights and personal safety of journalists working in the embattled nation against substantial odds.

The press freedom group Article 19 has been vocal in its response, demanding immediate action from Mexican authorities to protect the affected journalists. They have highlighted the dire consequences of such breaches, stating that in Mexico, writing news articles is as dangerous as fighting fires.

President Lopez Obrador, despite his claims of working to punish those behind the killings of media workers, has seen at least 13 journalists murdered in 2022 alone under his watch. The lack of convictions in high-profile cases, like the murder of journalist Javier Valdez Cardenas, and the release of suspects due to insufficient evidence underline the rampant impunity in the country.

The international community and press freedom organizations must continue to hold Mexico accountable for protecting journalists and upholding free speech.