*Argentina Adopts Tough Data Protection Law

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NEW ORLEANS -- The Argentine Congress has adopted the stiffest data protection law in Latin America. It is modeled on the German version of the European Union's data protection directive.


Alejandro di Paola, a former president of the Argentine Direct Marketing Association, said that it could have been worse -- the Congress was also considering the Italian version of the law, which is based on strict consumer consent before any direct marketing activities are allowed.


Di Paola is in New Orleans to attend the annual DMA conference and the board meeting of the International Federation of Direct Marketing Associations, which met here yesterday and elected Colin Lloyd of the British DMA as IFDMA president for a year.


The Argentine president seems certain to sign the measure into law, di Paola said. The one hope for easing restrictions on direct marketing, he added, lay in the rules that remain to be written to implement the new law.


Rules generally make the language of laws easier to apply and smooth out some of the rougher edges. He said he hoped the same thing would happen in Argentina.


While no details about the new law were available, the German version of the law does not allow cold calling of consumers and has several other restrictions that make DM and e-marketing more difficult than in other countries.


One of the EU rules, however, could damage transactions between the United States and Argentina. Under the law, no data may be transferred to countries without "adequate" privacy protection.


The United States negotiated the so-called "safe harbor" provisions with the European Commission allowing data transfer by companies that sign on to the safe harbor principles.


It is still unclear whether those principles would apply to any Argentine-U.S. transfers or whether the United States will need to negotiate a separate agreement.
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