Portuguese Data Protection Law Could Be Model for Latin America

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LONDON--Portugal has revamped a strict data protection law to conform more to the EU's data protection directive that could become a more liberal model for Latin America.

Alastair Tempest, director general for public affairs of the Federation of European Direct Marketing (FEDMA), said the Portuguese draft is one of the most liberal in the EU and is likely to affect Brazilian thinking on privacy legislation.

Latin America, he noted, has been leaning toward the Italian draft of the law, perhaps the most restrictive yet adopted by any EU member and far more stringent than the requirements in the EU directive. The directive was issued in 1995 and has a three-year period during which it is to be incorporated into national law. The grace period ends Oct. 24.

Tempest expects Portugal to have some effect on the Spanish redraft of the law and for both to have great influence in Latin America. The United States, he noted, has faced a "pincer" movement from north and south as both Canada and the Latin Americans have flirted with strict privacy laws.

Tempest, FEDMA's chief lobbyist with the European Commission in Brussels, was in London to attend the British direct marketing show and to brief a group of touring US direct marketers at the U.S. embassy here.

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