Brazilian consumer rights watchdog vetoes facial recognition tech

Brazilian consumer rights watchdog Idec has castigated the intended use of biometric technology in the social security system, and pushed government-controlled Dataprev to put plans of purchasing facial recognition technology on hold until data security and privacy concerns are addressed, writes ZDNet.

Dataprev is the data processing provider for social security agency INSS. Idec accuses the company of major data leaks of senior citizens’ social security information to credit institutions for illegal business deals throughout the years, per BNamericas, and fears Dataprev’s plan to deploy facial recognition technology, without addressing these issues first, could expose the data of 35 million citizens in the targeted categories.

“It is unreasonable to implement technology that uses sensitive data without the citizen being assured that such data will be treated securely and will not be leaked to companies with abusive or even illegal practices,” said Idec’s digital rights coordinator, Diogo Moyses.

By integrating facial recognition systems into a mobile platform, Dataprev wants to reduce false claims and make certain procedures easier for the elderly and for persons with reduced mobility, such as having to be physically present in a bank or social security center for “proof of life.”

Through its initiatives, the government aims to save some to 9 billion reais (US$2.1 billion) in 2019.
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is looking into privatizing Dataprev, raising even more concerns about citizens’ data security.

“Regarding privatization, Dataprev is awaiting studies that should advance these discussions, but it stresses that its data protection policy will always improve, advance and follow the law, regardless of the company’s legal nature,” said Dataprev in a statement.

INSS and Dataprev started internal investigations to look into the data breach accusations but these have proved unsuccessful so far.

In July, Brazil announced its intention to implement the country’s new digital ID scheme in a mobile app, operated by Brazil’s Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE). The body intended to cut down on voter fraud, benefits fraud and other issues by integrating driving licenses, birth and marriage certificates, public health registration data, and other ID cards.

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