By Lina Ornelas

After nine years of intense efforts and constant lobbying, the Federal Data Protection Act has been finally approved in Mexico. On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved the Federal Data Protection Act fulfilling the duty of the Mexican Constitution and international standards on the matter.

In Mexico, the Federal Act on Transparency and Access to Government Public Information (FOIA) recognises the right to personal data protection and establishes the rights and principles of protection that must be observed by all government entities. However, up to this point Mexico did not have a specific legal document on data protection to regulate the private sphere.

Further to the constitutional amendments to articles 16 and 73 that recognized the right to data protection as a fundamental and autonomous right, there was a clear social demand for data protection. Previous amendments pointed out the existence of fundamental principles for which all treatments of personal data should be ruled.

As a result, data protection in Mexico has undergone several developments in recent years. In 2009, the developments reached relevant success with the main constitutional amendments cited and related directly to personal data protection and the privacy regime.

Taking into account the previous data protection initiatives, the Federal Institute of Access to Public Information (IFAI) collaborated with the Congress to create a new and innovative act.  The draft of the act was also discussed with representatives of the federal government and with the private sector in order to have a balance between regulators and the regulated entities.

With the Federal Data Protection Act the current Federal Institute of Access to Public Information changes its name to Federal Institute of Access to Information and Data Protection. Therefore, from now on, the institute´s jurisdiction will expand to include the protection of personal information of private individuals and entities as well as the access to information right. With this act and the FOIA, the institute becomes the guarantee institution for data protection in both public and private spheres at the federal level in Mexico.

In this sense, the newly born act protects third-generation rights and takes into account the development of the international recognized principles of data protection. Furthermore, it protects explicitly sensitive personal data and incorporates OECD and APEC´s Privacy Framework elements as well as establishes a free and speedy procedure to exercise the rights of individuals (access, rectification, cancellation and opposition). It also includes a procedure of tutelage for the rights of the citizens and has the attribution to impose fines (taking into consideration economic capacity of the controller, technology, type of data and so on).

The Mexican model provides balance between free movement of data for trade whilst protecting information. Hence, the model is flexible and represents an effective tool to increase economic transactions making Mexico more competitive in the economic community.

Last but not least, with the Federal Data Protection Act and the FOIA, Mexico will continue to engage in international and regional relations on privacy and data protection in order to not only keep pace with the latest recommendations, policies and best practices, but also to cooperate at the multilateral and regional level in the enforcement of data protection laws as a result of cross-border online activities.

Mexico walks through the path of democracy and the right to personal data protection enforcement is of the utmost importance. Along with the major improvements in the matter, this institute now counts with the legal structure to protect personal data protection.

Lina Ornelas is general director of classified information and data protection at the Federal Institute of Access to Public Information in Mexico. She may be reached at lina.ornelas@ifai.org.mx.

Read Lina Ornelas’s story about The Memorandum of Montevideo here.


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

Latin America Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from Latin America

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Get more News »

IAPP Communities

Meet locally with other privacy pros, dive deep into a specialized topic or simply share a common interest, IAPP Communities are for you.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

NEW! Raise Staff Awareness

Equip all your data-handling staff to reduce privacy risk, with Privacy Core™ e-learning essentials.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

Upcoming Web Conferences

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Team

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

NEW! FIP Designation

Recognizing the advanced knowledge and issue-spotting skills a privacy pro must attain in today’s complex world of data privacy.

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Get Schooled in Privacy

Looking to get some higher-ed in privacy? Check out these schools that include data privacy courses in their curricula.

Privacy Vendor List

Find a privacy vendor to meet your needs with our filterable list of global service providers.

NEW! Raise Staff Awareness

Equip all your data-handling staff to reduce privacy risk, with Privacy Core™ e-learning essentials.

The Industry of Privacy

Take stock, compare your practices to those of other organizations, and get budget with these studies on the industry of privacy.

More Resources »

Time to Get to Work at the Congress

Thought leadership, a thriving community and unrivaled education...the Congress prepares you for the challenges ahead. Register today.

GDPR Comprehensive London

Our third and final GDPR Comprehensive 2016 was a great success. London delegates spent two full days with world-recognized experts taking a guided tour of the GDPR.

Call for Speakers at Summit 2017

Are you an engaging speaker with privacy expertise to share? We want you! Submit a proposal today! The Call for Speakers closes Oct. 2, 2016.

GDPR's Top Impacts - Webcon Delivered in French

Rejoignez des experts pour en savoir plus : Les 10 conséquences pratiques les plus importantes du RGPD. S’inscrire maintenant.

Intensive Education at the Practical Privacy Series

The Series is returning to DC, this year spotlighting Data Breach, FTC and Consumer Privacy, GDPR and Government privacy issues. It’s the education you need now!

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»