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International Law


Juridical Committee

Sec. for Legal Affairs


Organization of American States

Department of International Law
Data Protection

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Data protection in hands of public and private sector

There are two major categories of personal data processing: on one hand, the government, and the private sector, on the other.


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It is important to understand the difference between the types of information and types of processors. On the one hand, aims and incentives for information collection varies depending on the type of actor and, on the other, individual rights are also different compared to the government than they are to the private sector. In several States, inclusive, there are different legal regimes for each.

Regarding the public sector, government agencies and state agencies, they obtain personal information of citizens to control and regulation of the country, for example on personal identity, education, health services, tax collection, national security, and several other government services. The government processes data such as birth, death, marital status, property, and income of citizens, etc.

With regard to the private sector, individuals and/or corporations (in particular the country’s economic actors) use Electronic platforms to perform daily activities. Also, the use of internet, search engines, social networks and electronic communication systems, collect information about the person consistently. To this end, private companies may have access to personal information used for commercial purposes. This information may include credit information, phone number, political or religious preferences, home, travel, etc.

Both sectors, although the type of information they process is different, they must ensure the protection of personal data in accordance with the laws and practices.

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