CMS Expert Guide: Data Law Navigator

Data protection

1. Local data protection laws and scope

The main data protection legislation is the Federal Law on the Protection of Personal Data held by Private Parties (the “Data Protection Law”) and its supplementary regulation (the “Data Protection Regulations”), together the “Data Protection Legislation”. The Data Protection Law came into force in July 2010 and the Data Protection Regulation came into force in December 2011. Other relevant legislation containing data protection provisions includes:

  • Articles 6 to 16 of the Mexican Constitution;
  • The Privacy Notice Guidelines, which govern the content of data privacy notices and obtaining consent for processing personal data;
  • The General Law for the Protection of Personal Data in Possession of Obligated Subjects governs personal data held by public bodies; and
  • The Federal Consumer Protection Law governs certain aspects concerning marketing activities.    

Additionally, Mexico is a signatory of international agreements on Data Protection, like the Convention for the Protection of the People Regarding the Automated Treatment of Personal Information. Mexico is also a member or the Inter American Network of Data Protection.

  • Act on Implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (Official Gazette, No. 42/18), prescribing certain additional rules to the basic text of the GDPR,  such as processing in the context of employment, processing of genetic and biometrical data and use of video surveillance.
  • Electronic Communications Act (Official Gazette No. 73/08, 90/11, 133/12, 80/13, 71/14, 72/17), governing, among others, the use of cookies and similar tracing technologies, confidentiality of electronic communications, and conditions for direct marketing via email.
  • Electronic Commerce Act (Official Gazette No. 173/03, 67/08, 36/09, 130/11, 30/14, 32/19), containing rules on transmission, caching and hosting of data in the communication network when providing information society services.
  • Consumers Protection Act (Official Gazette No. 41/14, 110/15, 14/19), containing a general ban on disclosing consumer data without consent, as well as additional rules on direct marketing via phone or mail.
  • Specific data protection provisions may also be found in other acts, such as Employment Act (Official Gazette No. 93/14, 127/17, 98/19), Credit Institutions Act (Official Gazette No. 159/13, 19/15, 102/15, 15/18, 70/19, 47/20, 146/20), etc. 

2. Data protection authority

The Federal Institute for Access to Information and Data Protection (Instituto Nacional de Acceso a la Información y Protección de Datos Personales or "INAI"), is responsible for overseeing the Data Protection Legislation. Its aim is to encourage access to all public information about governmental activities, and budgets, as well as seeking the protection of personal data and the right to privacy.
The INAI, if requested by a data subject, may carry out an investigation to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Legislation of a specific undertaking and sanction those found to be in breach the Data Protection Legislation.

Croatian Personal Data Protection Agency (AZOP): Agencija za zaštitu osobnih podataka | AZOP

The competent national authority for electronic communications network is the Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries (HAKOM):

3. Anticipated changes to local laws

There are no anticipated changes. Notwithstanding, the President of Mexico suggested in January that the INAI would be replaced by a State-controlled body. No additional details or timelines have been provided.

According to the general notice of the Croatian Parliament about its legislation plans for 2021, it is planning new amendments to the Electronic Communications Act (no details are available). 

Apart from that, there are no anticipated changes.

4. Sanctions & non-compliance

The INAI has the has the authority to impose the following administrative fines:

  • 100 to 160,000 units of measure 1 1 unit of measure = MXN 86.88 (Mexican Pesos)  for:
    • Acting negligently or fraudulently in processing and responding to requests for personal data access, rectification, cancellation or objection;
    • Fraudulently declaring the inexistence of personal data where such exists in whole or in part in the databases of the Data Controller;
    • Processing personal data in violation of the principles established in the Data Protection Law;
    • Omitting from the Privacy Notice any or all of the information it requires;
    • Maintaining inaccurate personal data when such action is attributable to the Data Controller, or failing to perform legally due rectifications or cancellations where the data subject’s rights are affected; and
    • Failure to comply with the notice warnings issued by the INAI.
  • 200 to 320,000 units of measure 2 1 unit of measure = MXN 86.88 (Mexican Pesos) for:
    • Breaching the duty of confidentiality set out in the Data Protection Law;
    • Materially changing the original data processing purpose in contravention of the Data Protection Law;
    • Transferring data to third parties without providing them with the Privacy Notice containing the limitations to which the data subject has conditioned data disclosure;
    • Compromising the security of databases, sites, programmes or equipment;
    • Carrying out the transfer or assignment of personal data outside of the cases where it is permitted under the Data Protection Law;
    • Collecting or transferring personal data without the express consent of the data subject where required;
    • Obstructing verification actions of the INAI;
    • Collecting data in a deceptive and fraudulent manner;
    • Continuing with the illegitimate use of personal data when the INAI or the data subjects have requested such use be ended;
    • Processing personal data in a way that affects or impedes the exercise of the rights of access, rectification, cancellation and objection set;
    • Creating special data databases in violation of the Data Protection Law.   

In the event that the infractions mentioned in the preceding paragraphs persist, an additional fine of 100 to 320,000 units of measure 3 1 unit of measure = MXN 86.88 (Mexican Pesos)  can be imposed.

Sanctions may be doubled for any of the above infractions committed in the treatment of sensitive data.

Administrative sanctions:
  • Croatian Personal Data Protection Agency is entitled to impose administrative fines in line with Article 83 of the GDPR;
  • In addition to administrative fines under the GDPR, the Act on Implementation of General Data Protection Regulation provides for fines of up to EUR 6,700 for violations related to video surveillance;
  • Electronic Communications Act provides for fines up to EUR 130,000 for breach of provisions concerning the use of cookies and similar tracing technologies, confidentiality of electronic communications, conditions for direct marketing, and other (as well as up to EUR 13,000 for the responsible person);
  • Electronic Commerce Act provides for fines up to EUR 13,000 for breach of provisions concerning information obligations, data availability, handling of data, and other (as well as up to EUR 1,300 for the responsible person);
  • Consumer Protection Act provides for fines up to EUR 13,000 for breach of provisions concerning prohibited marketing activities, and other (as well as up to EUR 2,000 for the responsible person).
Criminal sanctions:
  • Unauthorised collection, processing and use of personal data punishable up to one year of imprisonment;
  • Punishable up to three years of imprisonment: unauthorised transfer of personal data from Croatia for the purpose of further processing; unauthorised publishing data or otherwise making data available; unauthorised collection, processing and use of personal data (i) whereby significant proceeds are obtained / significant damage caused, (ii) related to children, or (iii) related to racial or ethnic origin, political views, religious or other beliefs, trade union membership, health or sexual life, criminal or misdemeanour proceedings. 
  • If any of the above offences is committed by an official in the performance of a service or a responsible person in the exercise of public authority, such offence is punishable by imprisonment of six months to five years.
  • Act on Implementation of General Data Protection Regulation provides for misdemeanor fines of up to EUR 6,700 for violations by the supervisory authority’s employee;
  • Electronic Communications Act provides for the possibility to impose the measure of ban of performance of activity up to one year;
  • Electronic Commerce Act provides for the possibility to impose the measure of ban of performance of activity up to six months.

5. Registration / notification / authorisation

The Data Protection Legislation does not require prior notification or registration for any data processing activities.

There are no derogations from the GDPR.

6. Main obligations and processing requirements

The Data Protection Law recognises two parties who deal with personal data:

  1. Data Processors: the subject or legal entity that processes personal data on behalf of the Data Controller.
  2. Data Controller: the subject or legal entity that decides on the processing of personal data.

Their relationship must be established through contractual clauses or other legal instruments in a way that proves the existence, scope and nature of such relationship.

According to the Data Protection Legislation, the principles that must be observed by controllers and/or processors in the processing of personal data are the following:

  1. Legitimacy: Personal data must be collected and processed in a lawful manner;
  2. Consent: The data subject must give its consent for the processing of its personal data;
  3. Information: Through a Privacy Notice, the Data Controller must inform the data subject about the existence and the characteristics of their personal data processing;
  4. Quality: This principle is given when the personal data is provided directly by the data subject; if not, the Data Controller must take the measurements to meet the quality principle and adopt mechanisms that are considered necessary to ensure that the data is accurate, complete, updated and correct;
  5. Purpose: Personal data can only be processed for the purposes established in the Privacy Note.
  6. Loyalty: Personal data must be processed safeguarding the protection of the data subjects’ interests and the reasonable expectation of privacy;
  7. Responsibility: Data Controllers must ensure the processing of personal data in their custody, as well as the data transferred to a Data Processor.

Additionally, the following legal requirements should be taken into account when processing personal data:

  1. Personal data must be collected and processed in a lawful manner in accordance with the provisions established by the Data Protection Legislation and other applicable regulations;
  2. Personal data must not be obtained through deceptive or fraudulent means;
  3. In all processing of personal data, it is presumed that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, understood as the trust any one person places in another for personal data provided to be treated pursuant to any agreement of the parties in the terms established by the Law;
  4. Personal data should not be kept for any longer than is necessary in order to comply with the purposes for which the personal data was originally held. Data Controllers must establish and document retention procedures, including deletion and/or blocking of personal data, taking the nature of the data into account.   

Main obligations and processing requirements, other than those from the GDPR, are stipulated by the Act on Implementation of General Data Protection Regulation as follows:

  • processing in the context of employment – biometrical data and video surveillance;
  • processing of special categories of data – genetic and biometrical data;
  • use of video surveillance of apartment buildings and public areas.

7. Data subject rights

All data subjects are entitled to exercise rights of access, rectification, cancellation and objection regarding their personal data (collectively known as ARCO rights). These rights are not mutually exclusive.

Right of Access

The data subject is entitled to access its personal data held by the Data Controller, as well as information regarding the conditions and generalities of the processing.

Right of Rectification

Data subjects may request, at any time, that Data Controllers rectify personal data if it is inaccurate or incomplete.

Right of Cancellation

Data subjects have the right to cancel (i.e. seek erasure of) its personal data. There are certain situations where Data Controllers have the right to object to such erasure (e.g. if required by applicable law or public interest).

Right of Objection

Data Subjects may, at any time, oppose the processing of their personal data for legitimate purposes.

Derogations from the GDPR: Public bodies which process data for official statistical purposes are not obliged to ensure rights to access, rectification, right to restriction of processing and right to object to processing.

8. Processing by third parties

According to the Data Protection Law, if the Data Controllers intend to transfer personal data to third parties, it must provide them with a Privacy Notice and the purposes to which the data subject has limited data processing. The data subject must consent to such transfer via the Privacy Notice.


Data Processors must obtain permission from Data Controllers if subcontracting may involve the subcontractor processing personal data. Once consent is obtained, the Data Processor must enter into a contract with the subcontractor.

The subcontractor will assume the same obligations required for Data Processors under the Data Protection Legislation and other applicable law.

The Data Processor’s right to subcontract processing activities should be outlined in the contract between the Data Controller and Data Processor. If this right is not covered in that contract, the Data Processor must seek specific consent from the Data Controller in order to subcontract processing activities.

There are no derogations from the GDPR.

9. Transfers out of country

International transfers of personal data must be consented to by the data subject and the purposes of such transfers must be included in the Privacy Notice. Such consent is not required where the transfer is:

  1. pursuant to a Law or Treaty to which Mexico is party;
  2. necessary for medical diagnosis or prevention, healthcare delivery, medical treatment or health services management;
  3. made to holding companies, subsidiaries or affiliates under common control of the Data Controller, or to a parent company or any company of the same group as the Data Controller, operating under the same internal processes and policies;
  4. necessary by virtue of a contract executed or to be executed in the interest of the data subject between the Data Controller and a third party;
  5. necessary or legally required to safeguard public interest or for the administration of justice;
  6. necessary for the recognition, exercise or defence of a right in a judicial proceeding; or
  7. necessary to maintain or fulfil a legal relationship between the Data Controller and the data subject.

There are no derogations from the GDPR.

10. Data Protection Officer

Data Controllers must appoint a Data Protection Officer (or equivalent role) to deal with data subjects’ requests and promote data protection compliance within the Data Controller’s organisation.

There are no derogations from the GDPR.

11. Security

Data Controllers and Data Processors are required to establish and maintain administrative and physical, security and, if applicable, technical measures for the protection of personal data.

In developing security measures, the data controller should take at least the following into account:

  1. the inherent risk given the type of personal data;
  2. the sensitivity of the personal data;
  3. technological developments;
  4. the potential consequences of a breach for data subjects;
  5. the number of data subjects;
  6. prior vulnerabilities in the processing systems;
  7. value of the data for an unauthorised third party; and
  8. other factors that may impact the level of risk or that result from other applicable laws and regulations.

The Data Protection Regulation also sets out actions that Data Controllers can take in order to comply with the security requirements:

  1. prepare an inventory of personal data;
  2. determine the functions and obligations of the person(s) who will process personal data;
  3. conduct a risk analysis of personal data consisting of identifying dangers and estimating the risks;
  4. establish the necessary security measures;
  5. identify gaps between existing security measures and those required for each type of data and each processing system;
  6. prepare a work plan based on the gap analysis in (v) above;
  7. carry out revisions and/or audits;
  8. train personnel who process personal data; and
  9. keep a record of the methods of processing personal data.

There are no derogations from the GDPR.

12. Breach notification

There are no requirements for Data Controllers to notify the INAI in the event of a data breach (other than Data Controllers which are government entities). However, Data Controllers must notify data subjects if their personal data is subject to a breach with at least the following information:

  1. nature of the breach;
  2. the personal data compromised;
  3. recommendations of actions that may be taken by the data subject to protect its interests;
  4. immediate measures being taken by the data controller; and
  5. any means by which the individual can find further information regarding the matter.

There are no derogations from the GDPR.

13. Direct marketing

Personal data can be processed for advertising and marketing purposes in accordance with the Data Protection Legislation, provided that these purposes are made clear in the Privacy Notice and in any other medium required for communicating the processing purposes.

The Electronic Communications Act generally prohibits the use of automated calling and communication systems without human intervention, facsimile machines (fax) or electronic mail, including SMS and MMS, for the purposes of direct marketing unless with a prior consent of subscribers / service users. 

If by email: Although the Electronic Communications Act generally requires a prior consent of the recipient (a natural person) before sending marketing emails, an exception applies (cumulative requirements) when:

  • the recipient’s email address has been acquired for the purpose of sale of goods or services;
  • the marketer uses the address for direct advertising of their own similar goods or services;
  • the recipient has not objected to this use;
  • the recipient is given a clear and unequivocal opportunity when the address was collected, and each time it is used, to object to such marketing at any time, free of charge. 

If by regular mail: The Consumers Protection Act envisages an opt-out regime (you can freely leave marketing materials in the mailbox or at the front door of consumers unless they have placed a sign reading ‘no junk mail’ or similar.

If by telephone: The Consumers Protection Act prohibits calls and phone messages to consumers who subscribed to a do-not-call-me register.

The aforementioned general prohibition under the Electronic Communications Act to use automated calling and communication systems without human intervention should also be considered.

14. Cookies and adtech

When the Data Controller uses remote or local mechanisms for electronic, optical or other forms of technological communication which allow collection of personal data automatically and simultaneously to the time the data subject has contact with such communications mechanisms, the data subject must be informed about the use of these technologies, at the time the data subject makes contact with the technology and must be informed of the obtention of personal data as well as the way in which the cookies can be disabled.

The Electronic Communications Act stipulates that cookies may only be used with prior informed consent by the consumer. This rule does not apply to cookies including technical storing or access to data solely for the purpose of enabling the electronic communication, or when necessary to provide information society services (online shopping) upon explicit request by users.

15. Risk scale




1. Local cybersecurity laws and scope

There is currently no specific federal cybersecurity law in force in Mexico.

Cybersecurity is regulated in the Federal Criminal Code, the Data Protection Legislation and other sector-specific legislation applicable to entities operating within those sectors (e.g. the Fintech Law). Specific cybersecurity measures are normally regulated through tertiary regulatory instruments such as manuals, official operating parameters and guides.

  • Act on cybersecurity of operators of essential services and digital service providers (Official Gazette No. 64/18);
  • Regulation on cybersecurity of operators of essential services and digital service providers (Official Gazette No. 68/18);
  • Information Security Act (Official Gazette No. 79/07).
  • Regulation on information security measures (Official Gazette No. 46/08).

2. Anticipated changes to local laws

A National Cybersecurity Strategy document was published in 2017, but since the change in government in December 2018, there has not been much progress in terms of actual regulation.

In February 2020, a Mexican Senator submitted a bill proposing amendments to the Data Protection Law (the “DP Bill”).

The DP Bill proposed implementing best practices with respect to cybersecurity but made no specific recommendations.

There have been no developments regarding the DP Bill since it was announced in February 2020.

Apart from the NIS2 directive proposed at the EU level, there are no anticipated changes at the local level before adoption at the EU level.

3. Application 

There is no indication of when (or if) the DP Bill will be passed into law or if the National Cybersecurity Strategy will be progressed.

  • To ensure best practice cybersecurity at essential services operators and digital service providers. It applies to (i) operators of essential services, regardless of whether they are public or private entities, which country they are headquartered, size, organisation and ownership and (ii) digital service providers if they are registered in Croatia or represented there as long as they are not a micro or small-sized enterprise.
  • Information Security Act envisages IT security measures and standards and supervisory activities and applies to state authorities, local and regional authorities, legal entities with public authorities, which use classified and unclassified data, and to natural and legal persons that obtain access to or handle classified and unclassified data.

4. Authority

The primary authority in charge of responding to any issue regarding cybersecurity is the National Guard (previously Federal Police, now formally though not materially fully integrated into the National Guard) and the Ministry of Public Security. Additional to this, there are other local authorities in some regions, such as the Police for the Prevention of Cybercrimes in Mexico City.

The INAI is responsible for overseeing data security breaches in general.

There are other authorities that could have jurisdiction regarding sector-specific cybersecurity breaches e.g. the Mexican Securities and Exchange Commission or Mexico’s Central Bank in case of cybersecurity breaches in the banking and financial sector. 

5. Key obligations 

Given there is no legislation specifically regulating cybersecurity, companies operating in sectors that do not have their own cybersecurity requirements are not subject to any particular obligations. Similarly, there is no obligation to report cyber incidents to the authorities. However, gaining access or trying to access a protected system is considered a crime in Mexico and therefore the offended party has the capacity to report the crime to Federal Prosecutors. 

With respect to personal data, under the Data Protection Legislation, every organisation must implement corrective and preventive measures to improve security and avoid the violation personal data rights.

  • Act on cybersecurity of operators of essential services and digital service providers:
    • Operators of essential services and digital service providers must implement appropriate, state-of-the-art organisational and technical measures to avoid security incidents within the network and IT systems (minimum security requirements). Operators of essential services must prove that these measures meet requirements at least every two years. Measures for digital service providers are defined by the European Commission Implementing Regulation pursuant to Art 16(8) of the NIS Directive;
    • Operators of essential services and digital service providers must notify the competent authority in the event of major cybersecurity incidents.
  • Information Security Act:
    • Obligation to implement IT security measures (prescribed in the detail by the implementing regulation);
    • Obligation to appoint an IT security adviser.

6. Sanctions & non-compliance 

Even though there is no definition of “cybercrime”, the Federal Criminal Code sanctions some behaviours that can be identified as cybercrimes, such as hacking, phishing, infections of IT systems with malware, identity theft or fraud. These illegal behaviours can be punished with prison sentences and a range of fines, depending on the severity of the crime. 

Administrative sanctions:

In case of failure to comply with the obligatory instruction issued by the competent authority or rejection of provision of information related to significant impact incidents, fines of up to EUR 66,000 can be imposed on an operator of essential services or digital service provider (as well as up to EUR 6,600 for the responsible person).

Fines up to EUR 13,200 can be imposed if the operator of essential services or digital service provider fails to comply with the requests to cooperate with the competent supervisory authority or rejects, delays or creates difficulties for the technical bodies that conduct compliance assessments (as well as up EUR 3,300 for the responsible person). 

7. Is there a national computer emergency response team (CERT) or computer security incident response team (CSIRT)? 

The authority responsible for the prevention and response of any cybersecurity issue is the National Response Centre for Cyber Incidents of the Federal Police (now formally incorporated to the National Guard) or CERT-MX. This body is in charge of preventing and mitigating any threat to technological infrastructure and operability in Mexico. Additionally, the INAI is responsible for supervising compliance with legislation regarding personal data protection.

Yes. National CERT was established in accordance with the Information Security Act and its main task is to process incidents on the Internet, therefore ensuring IT security in Croatia. CERT gets involved if at least one party to the incident is in the .hr Internet domain or is a Croatian citizen using the hosting services of a foreign service provider;

Under the Cybersecurity Act for operators of essential services and digital service providers, competent CSIRTs are determined for different sectors.

8. National cybersecurity incident management structure

The CERT-MX is responsible for dealing with any cybersecurity incidents, but only after a specific request, complaint or demand is submitted. The INAI can also initiate investigations regarding the protection of personal data.

Yes, the Croatian Government enacted the National Cybersecurity Strategy and the Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Cybersecurity Strategy.

9. Other cybersecurity initiatives 

In the private sector, the Mexican Association for Cybersecurity offers services and products regarding cybersecurity and data protection. It also encourages the protection of information and proper information handling. 


Portrait of Héctor González Martínez
Héctor González Martínez
Senior Associate
Mexico City
Portrait of Marija Zrno Prošić
Marija Zrno Prošić
Portrait of Lucija Vraneševic
Lucija Vraneševic
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Alina Skiljic