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Latin America Privacy Law

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Privacy law in the Caribbean, Central and South America is concerned with the protection and preservation of the privacy rights of its citizens.

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Privacy rights in the Caribbean, Central and Latin America are primarily found in the constitutions of individual countries.  Data protection laws are usually based on rights of habeas data.


The Caribbean is a region consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands, and the surrounding coasts.


  • Privacy Act[1]

Oversight: Office of the Data Protection Commissioner[2]

Dominican Republic[3]

  • Constitution, Article 8
  • Free Access to Public Information Law
  • Credit Bureau Law

For those countries held as a British, Dutch, French or American territory, it is likely that the privacy and data protection laws for those specific countries correspond with the laws of that country which controls the territory.

British Territories

  • Anguilla
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Montserrat
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

Territories of the Netherlands

  • Aruba
  • Netherlands Antilles

Territories of France

  • Guadeloupe
  • Martinique
  • Saint Barthélemy
  • Saint Martin

U.S. Territories

  • Puerto Rico
  • United States Virgin Islands

Central America

Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is located between the U.S. and South America.

Costa Rica[4]

  • Constitution, Article 24[5]
The right to intimacy, freedom and secret of communications is guaranteed.


  • Constitution, Articles 23, 24, 25, 31 & 44[7]
23.  The home is inviolable.
24.  The correspondence of any person, his documents, and books are inviolable.
25.  The register of persons and vehicles can only be drawn up by units of the security forces when a justifying cause is established for it.
31.  Every person has the right to know what the archives, records, or any other form of State registers contain about him and the purpose for which such data is used as well as their correction, rectification, and bringing up to date.
44.  The rights and guarantees granted by the Constitution do not exclude others which, even though they are not expressly mentioned in it, inhere in the human person.

El Salvador

  • Constitution, Article 2


  • Constitution, Article 182


  • Constitution, Article 7[9]
  • Regulations of the Federal Transparency and Access to Governmental Public Information Act (2002)[10]
  • Federal Transparency and Access to Governmental Public Information Act (2006)[11]
  • Federal Law on the Protection of Personal Data Held by Private Parties[12]

The Federal Law on the Protection of Personal Data Held by Private Parties was recently was passed unanimously by the Mexican Senate.  The law ensures "the privacy and the right to informational self-determination of individuals" by regulating the collection, processing and disclosure of personal data held by the private sector.

There are 8 privacy principles that follow the fair information practices adopted by most privacy laws:

  • Principle 1: Legality
  • Principle 2: Consent
  • Principle 3: Notice
  • Principle 4: Quality
  • Principle 5: Purpose
  • Principle 6: Fidelity
  • Principle 7: Proportionality
  • Principle 8: Accountability

Mexico's Federal Law on the Protection of Personal Data Held by Private Parties is similar to EU privacy laws in that any processing of personal data cannot occur without consent of the individual.  Express consent of the individual is necessary to proces finiancial or asset data.  Written consent is required to process any sensitive personal data.

For violations of this law, fines can go as high as approximately USD$1.5.  Other penalities include up to 3 years imprisonment if a security breach of a database containing personal information is caused; up to 5 years imprisonment if personal data is processed deceitfully; and, double the penalty if sensitive personal information is involved.

Oversight: Mexican Consumer Protection Agency, Federal Institute of Access to Information and Data Protection[13]


  • Constitution, Article 26


  • Habeas Data (Law 6/2002)

South America


  • Constitution, Articles 19 & 43[15]
  • Law for the Protection of Personal Data (LPPD)(2000)[16]

LPPD protects personal information held in files, records, databases and databanks for either public or private purposes.  Argentina is one of the few countries that the European Union (EU) considers to have an adequate level of data protection to allow direct transfer of data between the two countries.

Oversight: National Directorate for the Protection of Personal Data


  • Constitution, Article 92 (Habeas Data)
  • Consumer Protection Code - Law Nº 8.078[18]

Oversight: Consumer Protection Agency


  • Law for the Protection of Private Life (2000)


  • Constitution, Article 15
  • Habeas Data (Law 1266/2008)[21]
  • Penal Code (Law 599/2000, Article 194)


  • Constitution, Article 23


  • Constitution, Articles 4, 33, 34, 36 & 135
  • Law Nº 1682 That Regulates Privacy Information
  • Law No. 1969 (Disclosure of Private Information)


  • Constitution, Articles 2 (sections 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 & 18)[25]
  • Law Nº 27489


  • Constitution, Article 72
  • Law 18.331 (Habeas Data)
  • Law 16.736, Article 694
  • Decree N° 664/008 (2008)
  • Law N° 18.381(2008)
  • Law 17.948
  • Decree No. 396/003

Oversight: Regulatory and Control Unit for the Protection of Personal Data


  • Constitution, Articles 28, 48, 60 & 143[27]
  • Law of Protection of Children and Adolescents in rooms of use of Internet, Video Games and other Multimedia


  1. http://laws.bahamas.gov.bs/annuals/No3of2003style.html
  2. http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/dataprotection
  3. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559544
  4. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559547
  5. http://sanjose.usembassy.gov/engconst.htm
  6. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-83517
  7. http://www.constitutionnet.org/files/Guatemala%20Constitution.pdf
  8. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559515
  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_Constitution_of_the_United_Mexican_States
  10. http://www.ifai.org.mx/descargar.php?r=/pdf/english/&a=LFTAIPG%20REG%20ENG%202010.pdf
  11. http://www.ifai.org.mx/descargar.php?r=/pdf/english/&a=LFTAIPG%20ENG%202010.pdf
  12. http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5150631&fecha=05/07/2010
  13. http://www.ifai.org.mx/English
  14. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559551
  15. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Argentina
  16. http://www.primr.org/uploadedFiles/PRIMR_Site_Home/Resource_Center/Useful_Links/International_Research/International_Privacy_Laws.pdf
  17. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559539
  18. http://portal.mj.gov.br/services/DocumentManagement/FileDownload.EZTSvc.asp?DocumentID={0F67ADFA-DA04-4F44-9D41-FCEB8EA54F9D}&ServiceInstUID={7C3D5342-485C-4944-BA65-5EBCD81ADCD4}
  19. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559500
  20. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559548
  21. http://www.mofo.com/docs/mofoprivacy/LEY_HABEAS_DATA_ing.pdf
  22. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559543
  23. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559509
  24. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559507
  25. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Peru
  26. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559477
  27. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Venezuela

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