Privacy rights in Costa Rica

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Privacy rights in Costa Rica are guaranteed by the constitution from 1949 with a revision in 2011.

Right to Privacy in Costa Rica

TITLE IV SOLE CHAPTER ARTICLE 24

The right to intimacy, to freedom and to the secrecy of communications is guaranteed.

The private documents and the communications, written, oral or of any other type[,] of the inhabitants of the Republic[,] are inviolable. Nevertheless, the law, whose approval and reform will require the votes of two-thirds of the Deputies of the Legislative Assembly, will establish in which cases the Tribunals of Justice may order the seizure [secuestro], search [registro], or examination of private documents, when [it] is absolutely indispensible to clarify matters submitted to their cognizance.

Equally, the law will determine in which cases the Tribunals of Justice may order the intervention of any type of communication and will indicate the crimes in the investigation of which the use of this exceptional power [potestad] may be authorized and for [durante] how much time. Likewise, it will specify the responsibilities and the sanctions incurred by the functionaries who illegally apply this exception. The judicial resolutions protected under this norm must be reasoned and may be executed immediately. Their application and control will be the non-delegable responsibility of the judicial authority.

The law will establish the cases in which the competent functionaries of the Ministry of Finance [Hacienda] and of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic may review the books of account and their annexes for tax purposes and to supervise [fiscalizar] the correct utilization of the public funds.

A special law, approved by two-thirds of the total of the Deputies, will determine which other organs of the Public Administration may review the documents specified by that law in relation with the fulfillment of their competences of regulation and surveillance to achieve [conseguir] public purposes. Likewise, it will indicate in which cases that review proceeds.

The correspondence stolen or the information obtained as a result of the illegal intervention of any communication will not produce legal effects.