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The urgent need to update the Argentinian Personal Data Protection Law

5. August 2022

By Daniela Gaito. Lawyer.

In 2020, the Chamber of Deputies of the National Congress presented a project to modify the current law on personal data in Argentina: Law No. 25.236 passed in 2000.

As we all remember, at that time, Internet was just beginning to become widespread, it was only available in a few houses and the connection was by telephone cable. With a single phone line, you couldn’t surf the internet and talk on the phone at the same time. The fax was widely used, and the type of computers that were used were desktops with endless wiring. If we talk about cell phones, they just appeared in our lives, and we could use them only for text messages and calls. It is clear that the context in which the current law was sanctioned was totally different from now, and that is why exists an urgent need to update it in accordance with the today’s requirements.

However, the Argentinian Law protects a special type of information. To understand the concept, it’s important to keep in mind that all the platform applications and websites we interact with every day are constantly being fed information. What do I watch, where do I watch, what time do I watch it, what do I look for, what do I like, what interests me.  All this information (which is collected, treated, and processed to provide a better experience to users) is personal data that the Law of Argentina defines it as “Information of any kind referring to individuals or legal entities determined or determinable.”

As we can see, the legal definition of personal data is very broad. This conceptualization implies that most of the information that we provide on websites and applications is protected by law and this consequently establish constitutional rights, obligations and guarantees regarding data protection.

The Argentine law of 2000 is a law that write out the Spanish version on the protection of personal data at that time. Since then, Argentina has been aligned with the protection framework of the European Union, which granted Argentina the recognition of “country with adequate protection[1]. The magnitude of that recognition lies, essentially, in the ease of making international transfers of personal data.

Nevertheless, in 2018, a new regulation came into force in Europe that introduced many changes in terms of personal data protection with extraterritorial scope. The GDPR left our country in an uncomfortable situation, since the standards of Argentina are not updated, so the European Union could modify its criteria and consider that Argentina is no longer a “country with adequate protection”.

That is the reason why exists the urgent need to update our legislation because maintaining the qualification as “a country with adequate protection” implies new possibilities for innovation and investment in our country.

Consequently, to begin the process of amending Law No. 25.326, it will be a period for debate with public and private entities, civil organizations, universities, whose goal is to be in accordance with the new challenges imposed by the technological transformation and the development of the digital economy and to harmonize regional and international standards in this matter.

[1] Commission Decision 2000/518/CE, July 26th, 2000 (Decisión 2000/518/CE de la Comisión, de 26 de julio de 2000)

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