Law on Protection of Personal Data (Law 81 of May 26, 2019)

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By: Ana Gabriela Soberon

In May 2019, the Republic of Panama published Law No. 81 on the Protection of Personal Data in order to establish the principles, rights, obligations and procedures that regulate the protection of personal data. The purpose of this law is to institute a series of articles that protect the holders of personal data against storage or improper use of these by third parties. This law details the different infractions and sanctions that can be imposed in the event that the rights of the holders are violated.

In accordance with this Law, the use of personal data can only be carried out when there is consent of the owner of the data. Likewise, the owner may, at any time, request the modification, elimination or blocking of their personal data from databases. For Panama, this is an important progression in terms of data protection since in the past there was no regulation establishing the measures that dictate when and how personal data can be collected and used.

In addition, this law establishes that when a holder shares personal data with third parties, this data can only be used for purposes explicitly marked in the consent request agreed by the holders. The request for consent, whether in writing or through the Internet or other digital communication means, must establish the conditions for the use of personal data.

The person responsible for the processing of personal data included in databases must institute protocols, processes and procedures for management and secure transfer. Likewise, those responsible and / or custodians of databases that transfer personal data stored in databases to third parties will have to keep a record of these and must be available to the ANTAI (National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information.)

The competent body for the fulfillment of the obligations expressed in this law is the ANTAI. ANTAI is authorized to request the necessary information and carry out verifications in order to carry out administrative investigations related exclusively to complaints presented by the holders of personal data. In addition, this law creates a Council for the Protection of Personal Data, which is made up of several representatives of different unions, including the Minister of Commerce and Industries (or whoever he delegates.)

For any questions about this law, please contact us at


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