New Argentinian law threatens nascent direct marketing

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BUENOS AIRES -- New additions to a proposed law regulating databases currently being debated in the Argentine Senate could seriously hinder foreign investment as well as pose a threat to Argentina's still nascent direct marketing industry, marketers warn.

According to the latest edition of the Habeas Data Law being fine-tuned in a Senate Comission on Constitutional Issues, individuals would not only have to provide consent before appearing in a database but would retain the right to prohibit the exchange of public information such as address, age and telephone number between companies without prior authorization.

The future law threatens the lucrative and valuable mailing list business and would create a bureacratic nightmare for companies interested in accessing databases, according toMartin Meyer, director of the Direct Marketing Associationof Argentina.

The Habeas Data Law, first laid out in Argentina's 1994 constitutional reform, already guarantees individuals the right to supress, correct, update or make confidential any information found to be false or discriminatory in a database. Files are also prohibited from including sensitive information regarding race, and sexual, political or religious practices.

Copyright October 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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