Mexican Data Protection Legislation Looms
In June 2002, Mexico made public, data protection legislation that was introduced in the Mexican Senate a year earlier. The language of this legislation resembles the Spanish interpretation of the EU Directive on Data Protection, which strictly regulates the use of data.
The Mexican legislation was passed by the Senate, but has not been passed by the Congress. In the interim, leading Mexican direct marketing companies have formed a privacy committee within the Mexican DMA (AMMD) that has been actively meeting with industry and government leaders. Its goal is to ensure the legislation will treat all parties fairly. An enactment date for this legislation has not been set, although it could occur by March 2003.
In many countries, local DMAs and other trade associations have been successful in mitigating harsh data protection legislation so that all can benefit. Whether Mexico follows suit remains to be seen. Mexico's direct marketing industry is strong and growing. Industry figures put it at $546 million dollars last year.
U.S. representatives from the U. S. Dept. of Commerce, the Direct Marketing Association, and many services companies have been actively pursuing matters related to the proposed data privacy legislation in Mexico. Commerce officials continue to encourage Mexican officials and their constituents to find alternative proposals for this legislation.
To this end, the DMA is actively engaged with Commerce in developing a workshop on data privacy to be held in Mexico early this year. Topics to be discussed include differing approaches to the protection of personal information and the decision-making process that leads to the development of privacy policies based on different models and the benefits to a company's bottom line. Lessons learned by the Canadian and Argentine DMAs will be drawn upon, as these countries have adopted a European-style data protection law that is direct-marketing friendly.