Bolivia: Privacy and Data Protection-related Laws
A habeas data right exists, at least on paper, in Bolivia. Bolivia recognizes data protection as a constitutional right, and enables the writ of habeas data as a specific remedy. However, Bolivia lacks the comprehensive data protection framework necessary to properly regulate consent and make the collection and processing of personal information secure.
Constitutional Privacy Framework:
- Article 20 of the Bolivian Constitution recognizes the inviolability of any kind of communications and private documents, and establishes that private documents that are violated or seized will not produce legal effect.
- The Constitution provides that neither a public authority, a person, or any public or private entity will be able to intercept conversations and private communications. They will also not be able to install any equipment that controls or centralizes private conversations or communications.
- In 2004, the Constitution was modified to include habeas data, which can be filed by anyone who believes he is unduly or illegally restrained from knowing, objecting, or obtaining the rectification or deletion of personal data registered by any physical, electronic, or magnetic means in computer files or in public or private databases.
- The habeas data action is processed pursuant to a summary procedure, which is provided for in Article 19
- Any citizen can introduce a habeas data action in front of the Superior Court of the District or in front of any judge
Statutory Rules on Privacy:
- Bolivia does not have a comprehensive data protection act.
- Several regulations protect privacy.
- The Bolivian Tax Code and Banking Law regulate privacy and confidentiality.
- The Resolutions of the Superintendence of Banks held that the Banking and Financial Information Bureaus are covered by banking secrecy provisions, and cannot provide information to third parties.
- The Criminal Code sets forth as a crime any disclosure of information obtained without authorization. It establishes several offences related to the violation of privacy. It also guarantees the privacy of correspondence and punishes the disclosure of information obtained illicitly. Interception of telephone or telegraphic communications is punished.
- The Regulation of the Planning and Entrance to the Public Prosecutor Career establishes the protection of personal data.
- In 2007, the Ministry of Labor enacted a resolution which says an employer must have privacy policies aimed to protect employees’ personal data, ensuring the proportionality and adequate data protection principles, and that the data will be used with “unequivocal aims established at the moment of collection.”
- Bolivia has signed the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights, which all recognize the right of a person not to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks to his honor and reputation.