The OAS’ work has provided valuable input to assist Member
States in taking decisions on the harmonization of law,
improving regional cooperation and search for
substantial elements on the matter.
Some examples of the OAS’ work in this area include:
• Beginning in 1996, the General Assembly requested several
studies and documents from the Inter-American Juridical
Committee on access to information on one hand, and on data
protection on the other.
• The Inter-American Juridical Committee adopted
several resolutions on this matter, all in an effort to
address the regulation of data protection through potential
international instruments as well as at the level of the
legislation of some OAS member states, and of the processing
of personal data by the private sector.
• The Department of International Law of the
Secretariat for Legal Affairs, at the request of the General
Assembly, prepared a study to provide a comparative look at
the most prevalent systems for data protection, considering
international instruments and national legislations on the
• The General Assembly, via resolution AG/RES. 2661,
instructed the Department of International Law to prepare a
comparative study of different existing legal regimes,
policies, and enforcement mechanisms for the protection of
personal data, including domestic legislation, regulation,
and self-regulation, with a view to exploring the
possibility of a regional framework in the area.
• Also, the General Assembly, through the aforementioned
resolution, instructed the Inter-American Juridical
Committee to present a document of principles of privacy and
personal data protection in the Americas, taking into
account the documents described in the preceding two
The mandates of the OAS and the General Assembly
resolutions have traditionally covered both the right
conjunction of Access to Information and Protection of
Personal Data. Although these rights are different, there
are important points of convergence (some authors mention
that there are the two sides of the coin).
In general and in accordance with the Model Inter-American
Law on Access to Information, people have the right of
access to all information held by the government, with two
exceptions contained in Article 40: When it damages
protected public interests, and when it damages protected
private interests, including personal data protection.