Data Security Worries Arise Over São Paulo Surveillance System


The group, Brazilian Insitute of Consumer Protection (IDEC), has since filed a civil lawsuit against the operators of the subway company, Companhia do Metropolitano de São Paulo (METRO) following the growing concerns over the lack of data privacy and protection in the country due to the new facial recognition system, notes ZD Net.

The human rights advocacy group’s decision comes after the subway operator failed to present relevant findings pertaining to the protection of the people and the impact of the system on the people.


The modernization project was initially introduced in the country in 2019, with the subway system looking for bids for companies to provide digital cameras that are equipped with a highly advanced facial recognition software. The program is slated to take place by August 2020.

São Paulo Surveillance System Data Security

According to ZD Net, approximately 5,200 cameras will be used to replace the present legacy system in place, rendering the 2,200 cameras under this current program obsolete.


The new subway facial recognition and surveillance program is reportedly aimed to detect and prevent harmful situations from happening.

Among the METRO’s targetted happenings are accidents involving passengers going into dangerous locations as well as protecting the overall subway system. Under the new program, authorities will now gain access to scanned faces by integrating its program with the police database, notes ZD Net.

Biometric Update states that the subway system will scan the faces and features of around four million daily METRO users.

Following METRO’s failure to provide the public with a report and an update on the probable impact of facial recognition software, IDEC decided to launch a civil lawsuit against the train operator.

The Brazilian human rights advocate group also maintains its position that METRO has failed to provide data privacy and protection policies that secure the safety of children and teenagers in the country. The aforementioned subgroup reportedly requires special constitutional protection.

In a statement, the IDEC said, “The ineffectiveness of technology, which is aggressive and invasive in nature, producing discriminatory actions against passengers, can worsen the already precarious experience of the public transport user, who may have their long and tiring daily journeys interrupted due to false positives.”

Furthermore, the human rights advocates group maintained that the “METRO seeks to implement an inefficient and dangerous system, without even taking all the necessary precautions to avoid massive violations of privacy rights, and therefore, will seek to legally defend the interests of all users of the system.”

In response to the allegations, METRO said that it has since provided clarifications to the points raised. The subway operator also maintains that its new program upholds the legal requirements required of it.