Activists call for ban on facial recognition in public safety

Held at the end of May, the 12th edition of the Internet Forum in Brazil (FIB) took place in Natal, capital of Rio Grande do Norte, bringing together more than 30 civil society organizations that together discussed topics relevant to social development, including technology in public security with a focus on facial recognition.

One of the topics addressed by the participants was the accelerated growth of video surveillance equipment with facial recognition adopted by police across Brazil, especially in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina.

As the movement’s supporters explain, the “ability to individually identify and track people undermines rights such as privacy and data protection, freedom of expression and assembly, equality and non-discrimination”, suggesting the abolition of this technology by the Brazilian authorities.

In addition to the possible violation of individual freedoms, campaign supporters reinforce that these devices are usually implemented through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), restricting the population’s access to the strategies and indicators used by the facial recognition system.

“[…] we don’t really know or the paths that are being thought by these companies for these systems, which until now limit freedom of expression, manifestation and even the presumption of innocence […]says pCynthia Picolo, researcher at the Laboratory of Public Policy and Internet (LAPIN)

Faced with these ideas of alleged individual restrictions, activists developed the campaign “#TireMeuRostoDaSuaMira” that seeks to attract society’s attention to the growing use of surveillance cameras with facial recognition software.

Investments in public safety

Last week, Oi Soluções delivered to the Bahia Public Security Secretariat (SSP-BA) about 1,200 security cameras that will be used by the authorities for facial recognition and identification of license plates.

According to the state government, the objective of the project is to integrate the police force with the mobile internet, allowing real-time communication between video surveillance posts, vehicles and the control center.

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