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The highest domestic court in Uruguay has held that communications interception does not violate neither constitutional protections for freedom of expression nor independent provisions addressing personal privacy under specific circumstances.
Since 2014, the government has used an electronic surveillance system called “El Guardián,” which was developed by a private firm in Brazil in order to centralize and streamline the operation of over 20 interception systems that were previously operating alongside each other.
Traditionally, the confidentiality of communications is protected under the right to privacy.
In exceptional cases, the interception of communications is allowed.
The competent Judge shall be in charge of selecting the material to be used in the case and the material to be discarded.
The latter should have no relation to the evidentiary object.
Regarding communications privacy, Article 28 of the Constitution establishes, in an out-of-date fashion, that: “The papers of private individuals, their correspondence, whether epistolary, telegraphic, or of any other nature, are inviolable, and they may never be searched, examined, or intercepted except in conformity with laws which may be enacted for reasons of public interest.” Uruguay has subscribed and ratified all of these treaties.
However, unlike other countries in the region, human rights treaties are not automatically enacted into national legislation.
It concludes with a series of recommendations for the Uruguayan government and civil society.
Specifically, freedom of expression is enshrined in Article 29 of the Constitution and establishes: Just as it's stated in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, the right to freedom of expression, as defined in Uruguayan legislation, can be exercised through any means and may not be the object of prior censorship.