Could New Anti-Corruption App Reduce Graft in Mexico?

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A number of civil organizations in Mexico have introduced a new mobile phone application designed for citizens to report corruption, something that is becoming more common elsewhere in the region despite uncertainty surrounding their efficacy.

The application, called Incorruptible (Incorruptible), was launched by the Mexican civil organization Political Edge (Borde Político) in collaboration with other civil organizations like Mexican Transparency (Transparencia Mexicana), El Financiero reported

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Manuel Silva Coache, the application’s coordinator, told El Financiero that the app is “not only about making complaints, but will enable research and the diffusion of anti-corruption efforts.” 

In addition to reporting on corruption, citizens can also follow up on the complaints they have filed, track what other complaints have been made and even work with local officials, according to El Financiero. 

Dante Preisser, the head of a joint unit that works with Mexico’s National Anti-Corruption System within the Civil Service Secretariat (Secretaría de la Función Pública – SFP), said that the involvement of local officials is key given the prevalence of corruption at the local level.

However, the SFP is still configuring specifically how local officials will be involved. 

This isn’t the first app introduced in Mexico aimed at tackling corruption. In May of this year, the SFP introduced the Reporting Corruption app as an “agile and secure” way for citizens to file complaints against government officials. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

Mexico is on a growing list of countries in Latin America that have launched mobile phone applications designed to either improve citizen security or help combat corruption. 

An application designed to report robberies, drug trafficking and police corruption was launched in July of this year in Argentina’s Buenos Aires province, where the provincial police known as the “bonaerense” have long had a reputation for corruption. 

In Brazil, a citizen-created security app was launched in July of this year in Rio de Janeiro to help alert citizens about where crimes and shootings were occurring in an effort to keep them out of the crossfire. A similar app was launched by Amnesty International in Brazil during the 2016 Olympic games.

Still, despite a growing number of countries in the region introducing these new technologies to tackle corruption and improve security, such apps have failed to produce significant results so far. For example, violence in Rio de Janeiro has spiraled out of control, forcing residents to flee the city as a result. Civil society remains enraged by widespread graft in Mexico, while a recent customs fraud scheme in Argentina suggests that corruption remains a serious problem.

Tools such as these are only one step in the fight against the endemic corruption that pervades culture and institutions across the region.

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