After the Ayuso case, Almeida closes entry to city planning paperwork and admits that for 4 years it has violated information safety | Madrid News | EUROtoday

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The Madrid City Council, ruled by José Luis Martínez-Almeida, has eliminated all city planning paperwork from the Conex database, the place it’s potential to seek for data on the just about 1.6 million properties within the capital, as a result of it has concluded that they comprise some data “that does not comply with data protection regulations (…) and that constitutes a risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons.” The Vice Mayor's Coordination, led by Inmaculada Sanz, requested a report on April 11 from the Data Protection Office (OPD) of the City Council itself, which advisable the closure of Conex, in line with the response from the municipal Communication division to EL PAÍS. The minimize on that portal, energetic since 2020, occurred after, in March, that web site open to the general public was utilized by the press and the left-wing opposition to seek out the primary indications that within the condo of the Madrid president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, an unlawful work had been accomplished.

The OPD advisable “to proceed to eliminate from CONEX all documents and plans that contain personal data” or “in the case of keeping such documentation, to make it ‘anonymous’ (sic) so as to prevent the identification of the affected persons,” the communication division knowledgeable by e-mail. “Until one of the two recommendations is carried out, access to the CONEX application should be closed,” concluded the OPD report.

This hypothetical large violation of rights would have zero price for the City Council. Data safety specialists consulted point out that, in line with the legislation, administrations can’t be sanctioned for violating rights associated to privateness.

For virtually a month, the City Council had averted giving a cause to this newspaper for the disappearance of those paperwork in Conex. Finally, the municipal response got here this Wednesday after EL PAÍS had entry to a doc dated March 20 from the municipal workplace chargeable for licenses, the Activities Agency, the place the explanation was reported: “a general review of “the documentation published with the purpose of guaranteeing intellectual property rights and protection of personal data in the documents associated with the files.”

Conex, an acronym for Consultation of Urban Planning Licenses and Files, came into operation in 2020 and allows citizens to enter the address of any building in the capital to find information about works and economic activities on that property. The results show a history of the dossiers in those properties. By clicking on them it was possible to download documents containing the officials' resolutions. In them, plans from the architects and data from the applicants used to appear. Its usefulness was that it made life easier for neighbors and professionals. Instead of going in person to municipal offices, anyone could search for this useful information on Conex. For example, an interested party could find out if his neighbor's work in progress was authorized or he could also find out if the premises he intended to buy had the appropriate business license.

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The document to which EL PAÍS had access was the response of the Activities Agency (ADA) to a complaint from an individual who stated that his work had been affected by the lack of access to the files associated with the records. The ADA offers him as an alternative to the method of consultation that existed before Conex: in-person access upon electronic request.

Conex was presented in July 2020 as a “very important advance” by the then Vice Mayor Begoña Villacís and the Urban Planning Councilor, Mariano Fuentes, each from Ciudadanos. Although it’s little recognized to the general public, in mid-March it grew to become related as a result of the press was in a position to confirm that in Conex there have been indicators of an city planning violation dedicated by Ayuso's accomplice, Alberto González Amador.

Mariano Fuentes, Urban Planning Councilor of the Madrid City Council, and Begoña Villacís, Vice Mayor, on July 8, 2020 during the presentation at the Madrid College of Architects of the Conex urban planning database and a virtual assistant to request licenses.
Mariano Fuentes, Urban Planning Councilor of the Madrid City Council, and Begoña Villacís, Vice Mayor, on July 8, 2020 in the course of the presentation on the Madrid College of Architects of the Conex city planning database and a digital assistant to request licenses.CITY OF MADRID

After allegedly committing a tax fraud of 350,000 euros, Amador purchased an condo within the rich district of Chamberí, in July 2022. The following month he reported the beginning of appreciable work to the board of that district by a accountable declaration. The municipal technicians ordered him to cease this reform on two events, on November 2 and December 13. Both appeared in Conex. El Huff Post It was the primary media to report these orders. This data was the premise of a criticism from Más Madrid that compelled the City Council to start an inspection that had not been carried out regardless of these two warnings. The last item recognized about this file is that the coordinator of the Chamberí district started the sanction course of on May 27.

The function of Almeida and his administration has been controversial since this case broke out. The left-wing opposition has denounced that the mayor is attempting to guard the pursuits of Ayuso and his accomplice, however on the similar time Amador has denounced the City Council for infringing his private information. The information, two weeks in the past, was reported by the media The debate, which reported that within the criticism, to the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD), it was talked about that the file of Amador's work had been seen by the left-wing municipal opposition earlier than by himself, in addition to that members of the municipal organizational chart had “improper access” to that data. A spokesperson for the AEPD responds to this newspaper that she can not touch upon the criticism.

After listening to this information, Mayor Almeida defended Ayuso's accomplice at the price of questioning his officers. He acknowledged that Amador's rights could have been violated and introduced that he was going to launch an investigation to “find out which person has accessed the data.” The mayor didn’t discuss Conex, which at no time had been identified as an issue.

Massive injury?

The city planning data that cities present varies tremendously from metropolis corridor to metropolis corridor, in line with information safety specialists. In the villages, the knowledge offered is often given verbally, with out exhibiting the paperwork. Larger municipalities often have a digital platform, however entry is generally obtained after submitting an digital request. Once accredited, you’ll want to go to the municipal places of work to seek the advice of them. Other instances digital portals have boundaries reminiscent of the necessity to know the file quantity. That is the case of Seville, Javier Martín-Arroyo stories. In Valencia there’s nothing much like Conex, Cristina Vázquez stories. A spokesperson for Urban Planning at Barcelona City Council solutions that they don’t have an identical instrument there.

The Madrid City Council informs this newspaper in its e-mail that the OPD report arose on the request of the Vice Mayor's Coordination, after verifying that completely different stories had beforehand been ready on the matter. In April 2020, the OPD had already said that private information shouldn’t be printed within the Conex utility. And once more in March 2021, he reiterated that opinion to the General Technical Secretariat of the Urban Development Area after a criticism from a Madrid architect. In March 2022, the OPD insisted on this place, this time by itself initiative.

However, the e-mail continues, in all these instances, the General Technical Secretariat of the Urban Development Area justified the content material of Conex primarily based on the Land Law, which in its article 4.2 defends “the right to information of the citizens (…) by urban processes.”

According to the Municipal Communication Directorate, “due to this disparity in criteria, the current Vice Mayor's Coordination requested this latest report” from the OPD on April 11, 2024. As a consequence, the Urban Planning Area requested the ADA to carry conferences with the Autonomous Information Technology Body of the Madrid City Council (IAM) to 'anonymize' the information contained in Conex, “ensuring that there is no protected personal data in said application. ”. The utility shall be opened as quickly as potential, informs the City Council.

Have the non-public information of thousands and thousands of Madrid residents been violated for 4 years? The specialists consulted disagree on whether or not this restrictive reform of Conex is suitable. This is a mirrored image of the standard disparity of opinions on privateness within the area of public administrations. It just isn’t simple to resolve whether or not the appropriate of residents to have their private information protected, together with their deal with, or the duty of rulers to facilitate entry to data of public curiosity prevails. This debate is often settled on a case-by-case foundation. In any case, they add, the Data Protection Law solely contemplates warnings for offending administrations, and never sanctions.

Borja Adsuara, a professor on the Complutense, believes that maybe the City Council was permitting uninterested folks to entry an excessive amount of private data. The key, he provides, is to discover a system that enables folks with a reputable curiosity to seek the advice of these paperwork. He provides for example the Property Registry, which permits realizing who lives in a property, after accreditation of that curiosity. “You would have to devise a different tool that allows you to evaluate the requests one by one,” he explains. “The risk is that you can produce a bottleneck because you need human supervision.”

Lawyer Jorge García Herrero believes that the general public's curiosity in accessing data ought to prevail and believes that the change has a political motivation. “This is a type of tool that allows for public review of legality,” he argues. “The question is whether that goal will be achieved to the same extent by omitting the ownership of the license applicant.”

It just isn’t clear why the City Council argues that it should shield mental property. Regarding this, Herrero understands that it could be a reference to the architects' plans: “My intuition is that they wanted to dress up the excuse by putting both rights together.”

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