Amendments to Article 16 of Mexico's Federal Constitution regarding Privacy Guarantees for Personal Data

June 18, 2009
Amendments to Article 16 of Mexico's Federal Constitution regarding Privacy Guarantees for Personal Data

The Official Journal of the Federation published on June 1, 2009 a decree adding a second paragraph to Article 16 of Mexico's Constitution, which became effective the day after publication. The amendment is designed to raise the privacy protection of personal data to the highest level of Mexico's national legislation. Through this reform, a new Constitutional level guarantee known as the "Guarantee of Protection of Personal Data" is created, which grants and recognizes the rights of citizens to access, correct, cancel or oppose the management of their personal data. The reform not only protects personal data at the Constitutional level, but also assures the national reach of the protection of personal data and information, whether in the public or private sector. Any entity or public or private individual that manages, has access to or provides personal data must provide for its protection and guarantee the privacy rights of the holders of such data. Finally, it is important to note that the amendment introduces principles designed to cover any exceptions to exercising privacy rights, under which such rights would be subject to opposition for national security (such as the integrity, stability and survival of the state), provisions pertaining to public order and safety, (such as the prevention, investigation, prosecution and sentencing of crimes) and public health (such as prevention, control and eradication of health risks) and the protection of rights of third parties. The genesis of the reform is an amendment to Article 6 of the Mexican Federal Constitution published in the Official Journal of the Federation on July 20, 2007, which established for the first time the right to protection of personal data as a right distinct from that of access to personal information. Given the practical implications that could arise from exercising this right, a new regulation will be necessary which, in addition to the Federal Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information, will provide a broader and more regulated treatment of this right, and potential exceptions to such right, imposing sanctions for any violations and providing for criminal offenses for such violations.

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