II. Privacy issues
In September 2005, the Children and Adolescents Code was approved.1 This Code states that any child or adolescent has the right to private life and the right to control their own image. Children‚Äôs images cannot be used in a harmful way that damage or identify them.2 The law creates the National Information System on Childhood and Adolescence, under the responsibility of the National Institute of the Minor. This System includes personal data about the child or adolescent who is under the responsibility of the Institute and of the institutions that take care of him or her.3 The law establishes that "this personal information cannot be used as a database to trace them once they reach the age to be considered adult" and that "the judicial and administrative records of the children and adolescents in conflict with the law must be destroyed immediately once they reached 18 years old or the measure cease to have effects."4 Moreover, the law specifies that children are the only owners of their personal history.5
On July 6, 2007, a Law related to the use of Electronic Signature and Electronic Signature Certification in Public Administration entered into force.6 The law establishes that State organizations must use electronic documents for all administrative proceedings.7 For that reason, the law authorizes the use of electronic and digital signatures that shall be equally valid and effective as those on paper provided they are properly authenticated trough passwords or other secure methods according to the software technology.
Decree No. 385/999 approved the adoption of an electronic personnel file for employees of the National Government. This file contains information about the career of each government employee and may include information about the sanctions applied in the performance of his duties. This regulation provides that the files will be available through the website of the National Civil Service Office. This Office is responsible for protecting and maintaining the confidentiality of this information.
Uruguay regulates the processing of personal data in public and private healthcare sectors.8 This decree provides that all clinical histories should only be used for healthcare; the patient's history should include clear information about the diagnosed or found illnesses and subsequent treatment; that personal data are confidential;, and that patients must have access to their data, not only for correction purposes, but also for other purposes, such as for consulting another doctor for a second opinion, changing healthcare provider, or verifying if malpractice has occurred.
Legislative and policy responses to terrorism
Uruguay requires financial institutions to report to the Central Bank whether they have assets or activities related to individuals or associations linked with terrorism activities.11 The law entitles the Central Bank to transfer private data on individuals or institutions to other foreign Governmental authorities in order to prevent terrorism or money laundering activities.
Major Privacy Cases
In 2005, the Supreme Court of Justice confirmed a former decision that ordered the amendment of information about sex included on a birth certificate since the plaintiff had changed her sex by surgery. During the trial, the Supreme Court considered whether national regulations cover the right to determine the sexual orientation. The majority of the Supreme Court indicated that since the person had changed her social sexual appearance through a clinic intervention to modify her sexual organs, she is entitled to request and amend the sex included in her birth certificate. Otherwise, privacy over her sexuality will not be protected since her former sex will be disclosed on the birth certificate.12
- 1. http://www.parlamento.gub.uy/IndexDB/Leyes/LeyxNum.asp
- 2. Id. at 11.
- 3. Id. at article 218.
- 4. Id. at article 222.
- 5. Id. at article 221.
- 6. http://www.parlamento.gub.uy/IndexDB/Leyes/LeyxNum.asp
- 7. Id. at article 24. "The electronic file is an ordered series of registered documents by computer means, coming from the Administration or from third parties, aimed to the formation of the administrative will in a specific matter with the same juridical and probatory validity as the traditional file of papers."
- 8. http://www.presidencia.gub.uy/decret/2003decret.htm
- 9. Decreto 246/005, August 11, 2005.
- 10. Decree 246/005, August 11, 2005.
- 11. http://www.parlamento.gub.uy/leyes/AccesoTextoLey.asp?Ley=17835&Anchor=
- 12. Corte Suprema de Justicia [Supreme Court of Justice], July 22, 2005, "La Justicia Uruguaya," Case 15157, volume 132, (2005).