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Chapter: 

I. Legal Framework

Constitutional privacy framework

Privacy, in its various forms, is granted constitutional protection in Paraguay. Under Article 361 of the National Constitution, the privacy of documents and communications are protected, so that they can only be disclosed in specific cases established by the law2 and pursuant to a judge's order. Territorial privacy is protected under Articles 333 and 344 of the National Constitution. These articles protect intimacy and dignity, and they establish that the search of private property can only be done pursuant to a judge's order in the specific cases established by the law.

Article 1355 of the Constitution establishes the procedural right of habeas data that protects information privacy by granting all citizens the right to access information related to them in public and private records, or databanks, and inquire about the use made of that information. This article also grants the right to request the deletion or modification of the information if it is false, erroneous, or misleading. Among these various forms of privacy protection, habeas data has been used the most by petitioners to gain access to information held in public and private records. The Supreme Court has stated that habeas data protects the rights to intimacy, inviolability of private correspondence and information, and the right to protect one's dignity and private image.6

Data protection framework

Even though habeas data is a constitutional guarantee, the exercise of which must be regulated by law,7 there is no pending bill that would regulate the exercise of this right. However, there is nothing that prevents a plaintiff from requesting access, correction, or deletion of his data before judicial authorities, because the right is recognized in the Constitution.8

In 2002, Congress passed Law No. 1969 which modifies Law No. 1682 in order to regulate the collection of, use of, and access to private information. The object of these two laws is to regulate the collection, storage, distribution, publication, modification, and in general the use of personal data contained in archives, registries, and databanks from either public or private sources. They also establish that financial, patrimonial, or commercial information shall only be disclosed if expressly authorized by the individual to whom the information refers, unless this information is available from public sources, such as judicial complaints. Private providers of personal data9 must abide by these laws. Individuals who intend to have their information corrected may directly file a complaint before the civil and commercial courts, since there is no administrative authority with a specific jurisdiction over data providers.10 Article 1 of Law No. 1969 specifically excludes databases of media sources in order to protect the freedom of speech and information.11

Footnotes

  • 1. http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Constitutions/Paraguay/para1992.html
  • 2. Violations to personal correspondence and private documents are allowed in specific cases and only if they are established by law, in particular the Penal Code, the Civil Code, and the Taxation Law.
  • 3. Article 33 states that the right to the protection of a person's intimacy, dignity, and private image is guaranteed.
  • 4. Article 34 states that all private places are inviolable.
  • 5. Article 135 provides: "Every person may access the information about himself or his properties held in public records, or in private records of a public character, as well as to know the use and purpose of this information. Every person may request, before the competent judge, the update, rectification, or deletion of the information if it were to be erroneous or to illegally affect his rights."
  • 6. http://www.adital.org.br/site/noticia.asp?cod=5104&lang=ES
  • 7. Article 131 of the National Constitution.
  • 8. Article 45 of the National Constitution.
  • 9. Among private companies, Informconf is one of the major providers of personal and credit data in Paraguay.
  • 10. http://www.informconf.com.py
  • 11. http://www.informconf.com.py/informconf/site/downloads/Ley_1682.pdf