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Constitutional Amendment on personal data protection is up for vote by the Brazilian House of Rep.

The proposed amendment aims to establish personal data protection as a fundamental right and to provide the Union with the exclusive competence to legislate on the matter.

Last Tuesday (December 10), the House of Representatives Special Committee on Personal Data approved the final report on the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) # 17/2019, which establishes personal data protection as a fundamental right and provides the Federal Government with the exclusive competence to legislate on personal data protection and processing activities. The text was submitted to the House Plenary approval.

The amendment was initially proposed by Senator EDUARDO GOMES (and others) to the Federal Senate on March 12, 2019 and intends to address the challenges and potential harms to privacy and data protection imposed by technological advancement. According to the authors:

Technology advancement, on the one hand, benefits businesses and the economic activity itself: it can generate employability, prosperity and higher quality of life. On the other hand, if misused or used without a prior moral and ethical filter, it can cause immeasurable damage to citizens and to the society, including the increase in market concentration.

Also, considering the experiences of Portugal, Estonia, Poland and Chile, the Senators highlighted the importance of the matter being regulated on a federal level:

We know that there are several proposals for state and local laws dealing with the matter, including blatant LGPD copies. There is no reason for this: the fragmentation and pulverization of an issue so dear to society must be avoided. (...) It is therefore imperative that the country has uniform legislation on data protection and processing, as it is virtually impossible for governments and businesses around the world to adapt to specific local rules.

The proposition has already been approved in two rounds by the Federal Senate, and was sent to the House of Representatives on July 3, 2019. If the text be approved in a double vote by the House plenary, the Constitutional Amendment will be promulgated in a National Congress joint session.

Data protection in Brazil

Personal data protection in Brazil is now specifically regulated by the General Personal Data Protection Act (LGPD), enacted on August 14, 2018 and expected to take effect in August 2020.

However, there have been attempts to extend the waiting period until August 2022, due to the low percentage of companies compliant with the law and the delay to enact the National Data Protection Authority (ANPD), responsible for regulating a number of aspects of the law.

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