Mexico DPA Expects to Issue 20 Fines in ‘13; Telecommunications Company Latest Target

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By Ivan Castano  

Nov. 6 --Mexico's data protection authority, the Institute of Access to Information and Data Protection (IFAI), expects to issue up to 20 fines in 2013 as it continues to enforce the country's privacy statute, Data Protection Secretary Alfonso Oñate-Laborde told Bloomberg BNA.

“There will probably be more fines this year as there are several procedures under way,” Oñate said Nov. 6. “So far in 2013 we have opened 14 cases in which we have given fines and for the rest of the year we could conclude six more.”

Oñate's comments came after the IFAI Sept. 25 fined Mexico's Intercontinental University and leading mobile phone company Telcel $664,000 and $482,000 respectively for privacy breaches.

The Telcel sanction marked the second high-profile corporate penalty imposed by the authority. In the first quarter of 2013, it slapped Mexico's second-largest bank, Banamex, with a $1.3 million fine for privacy violations which the Citigroup-owned institution has vowed to appeal .

Under Mexico's framework data protection statute (Federal Law on the Protection of Personal Data in the Possession of Private Parties), which was fully implemented in December 2011 , the IFAI is authorized to issue penalties of up to $1.5 million to companies that breach its rules.

Telcel, owned by telecommunications company América Móvil, used four contacts from a customer without her permission to call and send messages to collect debts, Oñate said. The Intercontinental University was sanctioned for failing to meet a holder's request that his personal data be deleted, he added.

The IFAI's actions come as the authority has been under pressure to step up enforcement of Mexico's privacy legislation, which some practitioners claim has been lax .

Telcel and Banamex did not immediately return Bloomberg BNA's Nov. 6 messages seeking comment.

 

To contact the reporter on this story: Ivan Castano in Mexico City at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katie W. Johnson at kjohnson@bna.com