Uruguay | Protection of personal data: A legal framework for privacy in the digital age

27 Jun, 2023 | Noticias-en

In the digital age, the protection of personal data has become an issue of increasing importance throughout the world. Uruguay is no exception, since the country has established a solid legal framework to guarantee the privacy and security of personal information, which includes natural persons and also legal or ideally-existing persons. Through laws and regulations, the State has demonstrated its commitment to the protection of individual rights in the digital environment.

The Personal Data Protection Law

Law No. 18,331 on the Protection of Personal Data and Habeas Data Action, promulgated in 2008, and its complementary regulations, is the main legal instrument for the protection of information. This law establishes the principles and obligations for the processing of personal data, both by the public sector and the private sector. In addition, it created the Personal Data Regulatory and Control Unit (URCDP) as the authority in charge of supervising and enforcing the legislation.

Fundamental principles of the law

Uruguayan law is based on several fundamental principles. These include:

  • Informed consent: The processing of personal data requires the informed, unequivocal and express consent of the data owner, unless there is a legal exception.
  • Specific purpose: Personal data can only be collected and used for a specific and legitimate purpose, previously informed to the owner of the data.
  • Security: Appropriate technical and organizational measures must be implemented to protect personal data and prevent its unauthorized access, loss or alteration.
  • Proactive responsibility: Those responsible and in charge of treatment must adopt the measures tending to comply with the regulations, among them, privacy by design and by default, and carry out privacy impact assessments.

It also recognizes and protects the rights of the holders of personal data. These rights include access to the information collected, the rectification and updating of inaccurate data, the inclusion of data when there is a well-founded interest, and the deletion of data when it is no longer necessary.


Although Uruguay has established a solid legal framework for the protection of personal data, since, for example, the latest modifications to the regulations date from January 2023, there are still challenges in this area. Constant technological progress and increasing digitization pose new challenges in terms of privacy protection. In addition, it is necessary to promote awareness and educate citizens about their rights and the best practices to protect their data in the digital environment.

“In Uruguay, data protection continues to have a huge presence, in national and international businesses. Uruguay has had the adequacy note from the European Commission since 2012, which represents a differential when receiving investments, and has motivated a continuous review of legislation to continue adapting it to the main trends and international standards. In addition to opportunities, the foregoing also represents challenges for companies that need a continuous review of their personal data management practices in an increasingly demanding context due to the internal adoption of analytics, big data and artificial intelligence solutions. ” point out Martín Ferrere and Cecilia Alberti, partner and senior associate of FERRERE Uruguay.

Compliance in the protection of personal data is of vital importance because compliance with regulations contributes to protecting the rights of individuals, strengthening customer trust, and improving competitiveness in the market by mitigating risks.

Companies and organizations that have a culture of compliance not only avoid sanctions and reputational consequences, but can also gain competitive advantages, resulting in better business opportunities.

For more information contact:

Carla Arellano  | Counselor Ferrere | carellano@ferrere.com


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