University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review


This article attempts to uncover a puzzle: although the traditional levers for strong privacy protection are present in Chile - a history of dictatorship, an information technology revolution, and strong trade with the European Union - its data protection laws are in fact very weak. What explains this apparent disconnect? This article challenges the conventional wisdom that Chile's weak data protection regime is the result of weak democratic institutions, collective action problems, or the prioritization of credit data protections. Instead, it argues that Chile's stunted regime results from a political culture in which privacy protections, generally, are traded off for other, competing values, including free speech and the free-flow of information. These conclusions suggest that proponents of present and future efforts to harmonize data protection law on a global basis may need to more fully address divergent cultural conceptions of privacy world-wide. Such proponents might also more fully consider the loss of cultural pluralism that will necessarily ensue from any successful global data protection harmonization scheme.