Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Ecuador has a new Data Act

Yesterday, the Ecuadorian Assembly approved the National Public Data Registry Law. The new legislation involves developing a public database containing information of all citizens.

The legislation provides that the information contained in Civil, Commercial and Property records must be packed together into a single database. The data will be managed by the National Data Registry (DNRD), which is an organisation created for this particular purpose.

To access to this sole database, the applicant must submit in writing, a request establishing their personal information (name, ID number, address) and explain the use that s/he will give to the information. This is required as a mechanism directed to protect the integrity of the owners of the data.

Uh, integrity? Surely the Act is not called Data Protection Act. In fact,this legislation appears to be the contrary. Is it wise? A single organization possessing every single detail of a person sounds a little bit extreme, don’t you think? We are talking about, banks details, properties, family, telephone, well everything that is hold by a civil, commercial and property registry. I do not want to be cynical but it does not look good.

Bear in mind that Ecuador does not have a distinctive Data Protection Act. However, the Constitution 2008 recognises the protection of personal data. It also establishes that the collection, store and distribution of personal data needs to be authorized by the owner or by law (Art 66 s 19). My question is, will this Article be overruled by the new Data law? It appears so.

Yet, the Ecuadorian Constitution recognises the right of privacy (Art 66 s 20); but, will it be enough to warrant the Ecuadorians some privacy?

Final note
Data Privacy Day is… January 28. Will the Ecuadorians celebrate?

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