An overview of Brazil’s privacy framework

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Brazil is the largest country in the continent of South America in terms of total land mass occupied. It is also the fifth largest country in the world and ranks fifth even in terms of population. These statistics make it sufficiently clear that Brazil is a very important country in Latin America also in terms of economic activity and industrial development. 

Serving as a hub of economic progress in the South American continent, the number of businesses operating is difficult to estimate. Owing to the widespread business activity, the amount of data that is generated makes it imperative for stringent privacy laws to come into force. 

In this article, we shall take a look at all the privacy laws that regulate the right to privacy of individuals in the country of Brazil.

  1. The Constitution of Brazil:

After a lengthy battle with military dictatorship, the Constitution of Brazil was adopted on October 5, 1988. Like any other country, the Constitution of Brazil too upholds human rights and liberties one of them being the right to privacy. 

In certain terms, privacy as provided for in the Constitution reads as follows:

“The privacy, private life,honor and image of persons are inviolable and the right to compensation for property or moral damages resulting from their violation is ensured.

The  home is the holy and inviolable refuge of the individual,and no one may enter therein without the consent of the dweller, exception the event of flagrant delict or disaster,or to give help,or,during the day,by court order; 

The secrecy of correspondence and of telegraphic, data and telephone communications is inviolable, except, in the latter case, by court order, in the cases and in the manner prescribed by law for the purposes of criminal investigation or criminal procedural finding of facts and, finally, habeas data shall be granted to ensure the access to the knowledge of information related to the person of the petitioner, contained in records or data banks of government agencies or of agencies of a public character or for the correction of data, when the petitioner does not prefer to do so through a confidential process, either judicial or administrative.”

  1. The Civil Code:

The Civil Code of Brazil also provides for the right to privacy under Articles 11, 12, 20 and 21. The privacy as enshrined in the Civil Code governs relationships amongst individuals and between individuals and legal entities. 

  1. The Consumer Protection Code:

This sector specific code regulates the customer data that is held by banks, credit agencies, companies and stores. The Code is based on common privacy principles such as right to access of data, right to rectify the data and the like. 

  1. Electronic surveillance, wiretapping and the Criminal Law:

This law makes it abundantly clear that wiretapping is strictly prohibited unless mandated by a judicial order or for a criminal investigation. Moreover, wiretapping can be carried out only in cases of crimes where the punishment is less rigorous such as detention. 

  1. Credit Information Law:

The Credit Information Law was passed in Brazil to regulate databases of credit information of citizens and companies. Its foundation is the principles of right to access, right to erasure, right to rectification and prohibition of excessive data processing among many others.

  1. Brazilian Internet Civil Rights Framework:

This framework came into being when Brazil was rocked by the exposure of Edward Snowden concerning corruption in the country. Soon after the Marco Civil was enforced with the help of public inputs. It solely regulates internet connection providers and applies to internet users only. 

The above gives us a glimpse into the various privacy laws that have a wide perspective and also some sector specific laws that are very narrow in scope. Due to so many laws prevailing, it is difficult for the law enforcement agencies to adjudicate in case of a data breach. Hence, there arose a need for a comprehensive law which shall be discussing in the next article. 


– A Brief Analysis of Data Protection Law in Brazil, Prepared by Luis Costa