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Brussels, 2nd July 2003

Data protection: Commission recognises that Argentina provides adequate protection for personal data

The European Commission has recognised that Argentina provides an adequate level of protection of personal data. This will allow personal data to flow freely from the EU to Argentina, without additional safeguards being needed to meet the requirements of the EU Data Protection Directive. The Commission's decision was taken in the light of advice from Member States' supervisory authorities.

In Argentina personal data is protected under a system combining different elements, including constitutional recognition of the "habeas data" right, legal norms regulating this right, and the broad interpretation and application of these norms by the Argentinian courts.

The Argentinian legal framework covers all the basic data protection principles and its enforcement mechanisms meet the standard required of countries that the EU recognises as providing adequate protection. This has been acknowledged by the Data Protection Working Party, a consultative body bringing together the independent supervisory authorities of EU Member States.

The Commission's decision has been taken in line with the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC). This Directive provides that the transfer of personal data from Member States to non-Member States may in principle take place if the non-EU country in question ensures an adequate level of protection.

The Commission may adopt decisions determining that such adequate protection is provided by a given country. This increases legal certainty for companies in the European Union and makes the export of personal data to the country concerned easier, thus contributing to the free flow of information, which is one of the objectives of the Directive.

The present decision will thus facilitate the transfer of data from the Union to Argentina and ensure that EU businesses know where they stand from a legal point of view, while reassuring citizens that their data will be adequately protected in Argentina.

Similar decisions have been adopted concerning the data protection regimes in Switzerland and Hungary, the "safe harbor" arrangement in the United States and the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Argentina is the first Latin American country to be awarded the status of "adequate country" from the point of view of data protection, and this breakthrough is expected to encourage other countries in the region to work towards improving data protection rights for individuals.

More details on the Data Protection Directive and how it works are available at:

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