Bolivia

Bolivia does not have a personal data protection law, but its constitution does recognize the right to privacy. The laws that currently exist governing issues of privacy and data constitute a scattered and incomplete regulatory framework. A summary of the state of privacy and personal data legislation in the country can be found here [Spanish]. Draft data protection legislation has been introduced to the Bolivian lower chamber and is awaiting further review and consultation. See the legal landscape snapshot, resources, and other materials below for more detail on the legal context and advocacy efforts in Bolivia.

To learn more about data protection topics and programming in Bolivia, take a look at the Bolivia resource page here, or browse resources via specific categories below

Bolivia Resources

Guía básica sobre datos personales para Bolivia

Tags - Introduction to Data Protection
Bolivia
Spanish

Internet Bolivia and Access Now, 2019

A basic guide containing concepts on personal data protection. For example; what is personal data, what is sensitive data, forms of treatment, etc. It also analyzes the situation of data protection and privacy in Bolivia.

Yo protejo mis datos

Tags - Advocacy, Best Practices, Data Protection Laws
Bolivia
Spanish

Internet Bolivia, 2019

A campaign to promote the drafting of a data protection law for Bolivia. It includes multiple resources: articles, videos, guides and a proposal to regulate the data protection local ecosystem.

Situación de la privacidad en Bolivia

Tags - Country Context, Data Protection Laws, Legal Framework
Bolivia
Spanish

Internet Bolivia, 2020

An analysis of the protection of privacy in Bolivia, which includes mentions of different local laws such as digital citizenship, cybersecurity, among others. It also mentions the initiatives that exist to adopt a law on data protection.

Protección de datos personales y derechos digitales

Tags - Introduction to Data Protection
Bolivia
Spanish

Internet Bolivia and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2018

An essay that analyzes the importance of the protection of personal data, as part of the right to privacy. In addition, issues such as digital rights and why it is necessary to have specific regulations to protect them are mentioned.

Looking to understand existing case law to guide advocacy and strategic litigation?
Interested to learn more about the status of data protection in Bolivia?
Click below for more resources to inform advocacy, community building, enforcement, and other topics in support of rights-respecting data protections.
What does the legal landscape look like in Bolivia?

The following snapshot is intended to help identify and understand the various factors impacting the passage of rights-respecting data protection legal frameworks. This includes the roadblocks to establishing a dedicated law, the key issues being considered within the data privacy conversation, the political circumstances under which these developments take place, and the ongoing advocacy practices that aim to support data privacy regulations.

There is no exclusive overarching legislation or bill covering data protection in Bolivia.

 

Related and Sector-Specific Laws

Bolivian citizens enjoy a constitutional right to privacy. The Privacy Protection Action is a constitutional resource for  cases of infringement of intimacy, privacy, self-image, honor, and reputation rights. Clauses within various other national laws deal with sector-specific data protection issues. These include: 

Constitution of the State

Constitutional Procedures Code

Civil Code

Civil Procedures Code

Penal Code

Code of Criminal Procedure

Supreme Decree No. 28168. Access to Information of the Executive Power

Law No. 018 of the Plurinational Electoral Body

Law No. 026 Ley del Régimen Electoral (Electoral Regime Law)

Law No. 164 General law on Telecommunications, Information and Communication Technologies

Supreme Decrees No. 2617, No. 1391 and No. 1793. 

Regulations to Law No. 164 

Supreme Decree № 2514. Creation of E-government and Information and Communication Technologies Agency (AGETIC). 

Supreme Decree No. 3251

Supreme Decree No. 3525 

Law No. 1488. Digital Citizenship Law

Law 548 Children and Adolescents Code 

Supreme Decree No. 2377 Regulations to the Children and Adolescents Code

Law No 393 Financial services

Law No. 453 General Law of the rights of users and consumers

Supreme Decree No. 2130. Regulation to Law No. 453

Ministerial Resolution 68-09. Ministry of Justice. Regulation of Procedures for Attention and Management of Claims of the Vice Ministry of Defense of User and Consumer Rights

 

Features of Enforcement

The application of the Privacy Protection Action is limited since Constitutional Actions are subsidiary to ordinary justice. One can only resort to it when the ordinary resources have been exhausted or when a case needs urgent resolution.

Judges and ordinary tribunals are the first to know and resolve cases, with the possibility of a revision by the Constitutional Tribunal. A lack of judges complicates enforcement and resolution of cases. To solve this issue the Law N° 1104 was passed in September 2018 to decentralize the operation and create the constitutional chambers in the departmental courts of justice.

Related Draft Bills

Two proposals on data protection were introduced in the Bolivian national assembly, one in 2018 and the other in 2019. Neither of them made it to the discussion stage. The first one was the Personal Data Protection Bill introduced by Congresswoman Jhovana Jordán Antonio, which proposed, among other things, a data protection authority in the form of a decentralized body of the Agency of Electronic Government and Information and Communication Technologies (AGETIC). This bill was presented in the assembly in 2018.

The second was Fundación Internet Bolivia’s own Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, presented as a citizen legislative initiative to  the Plurinational Legislative Assembly in 2019. There is no information on if it was debated. It focuses on the importance of consent and the rights of data subjects. It also proposes the creation of the Personal Data Protection Agency – APP – as an autonomous entity.

There is no exclusive overarching legislation or bill covering data protection in Bolivia.

 

Related and Sector-Specific Laws

Bolivian citizens enjoy a constitutional right to privacy. The Privacy Protection Action is a constitutional resource for  cases of infringement of intimacy, privacy, self-image, honor, and reputation rights. Clauses within various other national laws deal with sector-specific data protection issues. These include: 

Constitution of the State

Constitutional Procedures Code

Civil Code

Civil Procedures Code

Penal Code

Code of Criminal Procedure

Supreme Decree No. 28168. Access to Information of the Executive Power

Law No. 018 of the Plurinational Electoral Body

Law No. 026 Ley del Régimen Electoral (Electoral Regime Law)

Law No. 164 General law on Telecommunications, Information and Communication Technologies

Supreme Decrees No. 2617, No. 1391 and No. 1793. 

Regulations to Law No. 164 

Supreme Decree № 2514. Creation of E-government and Information and Communication Technologies Agency (AGETIC). 

Supreme Decree No. 3251

Supreme Decree No. 3525 

Law No. 1488. Digital Citizenship Law

Law 548 Children and Adolescents Code 

Supreme Decree No. 2377 Regulations to the Children and Adolescents Code

Law No 393 Financial services

Law No. 453 General Law of the rights of users and consumers

Supreme Decree No. 2130. Regulation to Law No. 453

Ministerial Resolution 68-09. Ministry of Justice. Regulation of Procedures for Attention and Management of Claims of the Vice Ministry of Defense of User and Consumer Rights

 

Features of Enforcement

The application of the Privacy Protection Action is limited since Constitutional Actions are subsidiary to ordinary justice. One can only resort to it when the ordinary resources have been exhausted or when a case needs urgent resolution.

Judges and ordinary tribunals are the first to know and resolve cases, with the possibility of a revision by the Constitutional Tribunal. A lack of judges complicates enforcement and resolution of cases. To solve this issue the Law N° 1104 was passed in September 2018 to decentralize the operation and create the constitutional chambers in the departmental courts of justice.

Related Draft Bills

Two proposals on data protection were introduced in the Bolivian national assembly, one in 2018 and the other in 2019. Neither of them made it to the discussion stage. The first one was the Personal Data Protection Bill introduced by Congresswoman Jhovana Jordán Antonio, which proposed, among other things, a data protection authority in the form of a decentralized body of the Agency of Electronic Government and Information and Communication Technologies (AGETIC). This bill was presented in the assembly in 2018.

The second was Fundación Internet Bolivia’s own Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, presented as a citizen legislative initiative to  the Plurinational Legislative Assembly in 2019. There is no information on if it was debated. It focuses on the importance of consent and the rights of data subjects. It also proposes the creation of the Personal Data Protection Agency – APP – as an autonomous entity.

The matrix of institutions and bylaws concerned with data protection and privacy in Bolivia is quite diverse and complicated. In September 2018, there was an attempt to simplify and decentralise this process. This was in the form of Constitutional Courtrooms that would handle cases arising out of constitutional actions in and around Bolivia’s main cities.

 

Personal data protection is not a priority for the authorities. The lack of budget and priorities related to health issues can make it difficult for the draft to be approved.

Key National Issues Related to Privacy and Data Protection 

Although not part of the core debates on data protection and privacy, ancillary issues of access to information and investigation of cybercrimes have taken center stage in Bolivia.

 

Recently, the debate on data protection has been dominated by cases of scams at Banco Unión, where various people were swindled out of their money by posers using account holders’ registered phone numbers to spoof their identities. Though there was a certain amount of public suspicion regarding the involvement of the odd errant bank official in this, the Financial System Supervision Authority (ASFI) attributed the events to the mishandling of electronic devices by users.

 

In addition, laws and bills related to the fight against the Legitimization of Illicit Profits have generated rejection from different sectors of the population, because very broad exemptions have been granted to the Financial Investigation Unit to obtain financial data from people, without the need for judicial intervention. Because of the protest, this regulatory framework (laws and bills) was abrogated or eliminated

Key National Issues Related to Privacy and Data Protection 

Although not part of the core debates on data protection and privacy, ancillary issues of access to information and investigation of cybercrimes have taken center stage in Bolivia.

 

Recently, the debate on data protection has been dominated by cases of scams at Banco Unión, where various people were swindled out of their money by posers using account holders’ registered phone numbers to spoof their identities. Though there was a certain amount of public suspicion regarding the involvement of the odd errant bank official in this, the Financial System Supervision Authority (ASFI) attributed the events to the mishandling of electronic devices by users.

 

In addition, laws and bills related to the fight against the Legitimization of Illicit Profits have generated rejection from different sectors of the population, because very broad exemptions have been granted to the Financial Investigation Unit to obtain financial data from people, without the need for judicial intervention. Because of the protest, this regulatory framework (laws and bills) was abrogated or eliminated

The issue of data protection and privacy is still not widely debated nor informed in Bolivia. Awareness on these topics was limited to specialists before the pandemic. However, with the need for more rapid  digitalization during lockdowns,  public perceptions around internet policies and rights are changing.

Goals

Promoting privacy as a fundamental right and promoting political consensus on introducing a data protection law are among the chief advocacy goals in Bolivia. Other goals include establishing the importance of consent in data processing and in formulating a regional and global position on the use of personal data by transnational platforms.

Challenges

The political polarisation in the country poses a significant challenge to advocacy efforts. Added to that is the lack of political will among lawmakers to push for data protection legislation. A worsening economic crisis coupled with the pandemic has affected the priorities, interests and the agenda of the government.

Hear from Internet Bolivia

ADAPT’s partner Internet Bolivia has been conducting advocacy promoting data privacy in the country since early 2021. Check out their blogs and podcasts that showcase some of the core elements of their work and the issues that they prioritize.

Bolivia Podcasts

EPISODE 5

Bolivia de abajo hacia arriba: Un acercamiento desde los grupos de base para impulsar leyes de protección de datos y políticas que respeten la privacidad

EPISODE 5

Bolivia: From the Bottom Up: Using Grassroots approaches to push for data protection laws and privacy-respecting policies

EPISODE 3

Pushing Towards Data Protection: An Advocate’s Guide by Privacy is Global

Bolivia Blog Posts

10 minutes /
This workshop took place in the context of the Data Privacy Learning Series, a series of five events with members of the ADAPT project, whose goal is to tackle concrete issues around advocacy and activism on data protection in the Global South. The series is being conducted by Data Privacy Brasil Research Association with the support of Internews and the...
Data Privacy Brazil

Data Privacy Brazil

10 minutes /
Have you ever wondered how you have been scammed online or why you receive calls or messages from companies you never subscribed to? It all starts with your personal data. Let’s think about the number of times and places where you left your personal data: name, last name, identity card, address, bank account, health status, emails, passwords. Now, let’s think...
Diandra Cespedes Sagardia

Diandra Cespedes Sagardia