Panama: Data Protection Laws of the World Handbook: Second Edition - Panama

E-Commerce And Privacy Alert

LAW

In recent years, Panama has taken significant legislative steps to regulate electronic data protection and internet commerce. However, this regime remains a work in progress. The primary laws and regulations thus far enacted are Law 51 of 22 July 2008, as amended by Law 82 of 9 November 2012 ("Law 51"), and Executive Decree No. 40 of 19 May 2009 ("Decree 40"). The central purpose of both Law 51 and Decree 40 is to regulate the creation, utilization and storage of electronic documents and signatures in Panama, through a registration process and the supervision of providers of data storage services. Law 51 and Decree 40 provide for enforcement through the General Directorate of Electronic Commerce (Dirección General de Comercio Electrónico) ("DGCE").

DEFINITION OF PERSONAL DATA

Personal Data is not expressly defined under Panamanian law. However, it is generally deemed to include information that can specifically identify an individual, such as one's name, postal address (including billing and shipping addresses), telephone number, e-mail address, credit card number, or a username.

DEFINITION OF SENSITIVE PERSONAL DATA

"Sensitive Personal Data" is not defined under Panamanian Law.

NATIONAL DATA PROTECTION AUTHORITY

The General Directorate of Electronic Commerce

REGISTRATION

Under Decree 40, electronic data storage companies and companies engaged in online electronic signature verification must register with the DGCE. For companies otherwise engaged in e-commerce-related activities, registration with the DGCE is voluntary and can be completed online and free of cost. Registration must occur no later than 15 days prior to the commencement of data processing activities and shall include, inter alia, the following information:

  • name of the company;
  • company´s physical address, telephone and fax number;
  • legal representative of the company;
  • company´s internet address or URL;
  • contact email provided by company to customers;
  • public Registry and Ministry of Commerce Registration Information;
  • in the event that an undertaken activity requires specific authorization or permits, evidence thereof;
  • tax Identification Number;
  • description of services offered by the company, including pricing information and applicable taxes; and
  • the Company's code of conduct.

Moreover, for companies that are engaged in each of the activities for which registration is mandatory, Law 51 and Decree 40 set forth certain additional registration requirements.

DATA PROTECTION OFFICERS

Appointment of a data protection officer is not required.

COLLECTION AND PROCESSING

In Panama, personal information is protected at the constitutional level. The Constitution provides that any person or entity that obtains personal information and/or personal documents, either from a person or a company who provides such information willingly, or through any other means, may not disclose such information without the consent of its lawful owner (there is no specific definition or explanation of who is considered the "lawful owner" of personal information). An exception to the consent rule is the disclosure of such information pursuant to a valid judicial or governmental request.

The disclosure of personal information without consent is also prohibited by the Panamanian Criminal Code. Criminal penalties apply to the disclosure of personal information when the disclosure causes harm to the information's lawful owner. Law 51 specifically establishes that this criminal law prohibition applies to electronically stored information.

Panamanian law further requires that providers of online data storage services take reasonable measures to ensure that company personnel who come into contact with confidential information do not have a criminal record, have obtained the necessary technical skills to handle such data and information, and possess reasonable knowledge of existing legal restrictions related to the disclosure of such information. Although this prohibition is specifically intended to apply to entities that provide online data storage services, it is not unforeseeable that it could also be construed to apply to any company engaged in e-commerce.

TRANSFER

Although the Panamanian e-commerce regulatory framework is not yet fully developed, the existing regulations follow the constitutional principle that the consent of the lawful owner is required for the transfer of any personal information.

Pursuant to Law 51, when a customer provides his email address during the process of acquiring or subscribing to a service offered online, the company providing such service must disclose to the customer its intent to use the email address in the future for commercial communications and, further, must obtain the customer's express consent for such purposes. The client or customer must also be able to revoke such consent easily, through a simple process made available by the provider of the service.

While the manner in which this restriction appears to have been drafted suggests that it applies exclusively to online service providers, its broader application to all companies that sell products online or are engaged in e-commerce activities is foreseeable.

SECURITY

Decree 40 establishes certain security requirements applicable only to electronic data storage and electronic signature verification companies, for whom registration with the DGCE is mandatory. The main requirements are adherence to the security parameters periodically published by the DGCE, and the performance of annual self-audits, the results of which must be filed with the DGCE in order for the company to renew its registration. In addition, these companies must create a disaster recovery plan that allows such providers to re-establish regular operations within twelve hours of the occurrence of a disruptive event.

No similar provisions have been enacted with respect to companies who engage in other types of e-commerce, ie, those for whom registration is voluntary.

BREACH NOTIFICATION

Law 51 does not require breach notification.

ENFORCEMENT

The DGCE is responsible for enforcement of the existing e-commerce and related regulations, including the publication of additional complementary regulations. Sanctions include the suspension or permanent ban of the activities of companies that infringe certain regulations, as well as fines of up to US$150,000.

ELECTRONIC MARKETING

With respect to email advertising, Panamanian law requires that all such emails: (i) state that they are commercial communications; (ii) include the name of the sender; and (iii) set forth the mechanism through which the recipient may choose not to receive any further communications from the particular sender. These requirements apply to other promotional offers as well.

Further, although opt-out tools are not prohibited, the client's initial opt-in consent is specifically required to use the client's email for advertising purposes. Further, although no specific prohibition has been enacted with respect to the use of information for online advertising, obtaining the customer's consent is always preferable.

ONLINE PRIVACY (INCLUDING COOKIES AND LOCATION DATA)

The existing regulatory framework does not yet address location data, cookies, local storage objects or other similar data-gathering tools.

© DLA Piper

This publication is intended as a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be, and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this publication.


DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm, operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions