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April 2021

Inter-American Juridical Committee approves Updated Principles on Privacy and Personal Data Protection


The Inter-American Juridical Committee (CJI), the consultative body of the Organization of American States (OAS) in legal matters, concluded its 98th regular session on April 9 with the unanimous approval of the "Updated Principles on Privacy and the Personal Data Protection, with Annotations".

These Updated Principles have been transmitted to the political bodies of the OAS for their information, with the recommendation that the General Assembly adopt them at its next regular session. This fulfils the mandate given to the CJI by the Assembly itself in 2018, which is to update the Principles on the Protection of Personal Data adopted by the Committee in 2015, bearing in mind how such data have evolved.

Since then, the Department of International Law, as the Technical Secretariat of the CJI, has prepared various working documents to support the rapporteurship of the subject, participated in various conference calls and virtual meetings with different stakeholders, and developed an intensive consultation process between August 2020 and February 2021 in order to incorporate inputs from Member States into its work, with the aim of producing a document that reflects the various approaches that coexist in the region.

International entities, such as the Ibero-American Data Protection Network (RIPD), the Inter-American Commission on Women (CIM) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), also participated in the process. Their contributions helped to enrich the text, ensure the inclusion of a gender perspective, provide a better framework for the protection of groups in situations of social and economic vulnerability, and identify key guidelines to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance that requires the processing of personal data, among others.

The document approved by the CJI is divided into two sections: the first contains the Updated Principles, while the second part includes detailed annotations on each of them and specific recommendations for their implementation.

With the adoption of these Updated Principles, the CJI recognizes the importance of having a regulatory framework that strikes a balance between promoting economic development and protecting citizens' privacy, stressing the desirability of fostering legal harmonization on this topic within the continent.

The updating of the Principles has focused on strengthening transparency in the processing of this data by digital applications and web pages, accountability of controllers and data processors, security of sensitive personal data, cross-border flow of personal data, informed and free consent as a basis for the processing of personal data and the empowerment of citizens with respect to the processing of their personal data.

» To view the CJI resolution approving the Updated Principles on Privacy and Personal Data Protection, click here.

» To view the Updated Principles on Privacy and Personal Data Protection, click here.

» To visit our web page on Personal Data Protection, click here.

» For additional information about the Department of International Law (DIL), please visit our Website.

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