Gov Accountability

Mexican government spyware used against anti-corruption think tank


Juan Pardinas, the general director of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness [Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad-(IMCO), an Atlas Network partner based in Mexico City, has been one of the targets of a sophisticated hacking scheme since 2015. Pardinas, his wife and a few others at IMCO received numerous threatening texts, among other things. The protracted ordeal was highlighted in a recent New York Times article.

Several journalists and human rights advocates have been victimized by the same hacking scheme as Pardinas, all in an apparent attempt by the Mexican government to silence good-government reform. The authors of the article, Azam Ahmed and Nicole Perlroth, said, “Mr. Pardinas’s tone grew bolder. He told one radio host that ‘for the government of Mexico, anti-corruption measures are like garlic to a vampire.’”

Pardinas and his team at IMCO are vocal advocates for greater government transparency and accountability in Mexico. As part of that goal, IMCO has crafted alliances, proposed policies, and advocated for the adoption and implementation of Mexico’s National Anti-corruption System. "The government is showing that human rights and the fight against corruption are a threat to its way of governing and doing politics," said Pardinas in a TV interview.

In addition to IMCO’s work on good-government issues, it helps develop policy proposals that remove the barriers to economic prosperity for Mexico and its citizens. “It has become increasingly obvious that corruption, impunity, and a weak rule of law deeply affect every aspect of Mexico’s economic activity; it weakens the conditions for competitiveness and severely affects the everyday life of common citizens,” explained Guadalupe Mendoza, IMCO's Director of Institutional Development.