Authorities in Rio de Janeiro have announced plans to introduce a new facial recognition system during this year’s Carnival. The cameras will be used to scan faces and license plates in the popular Copacabana area of the city.
“If (the cameras) identify an individual under an arrest warrant, or if a stolen vehicle drives through the area, an alert will be sent to the closest police car,” said Rogerio Figueiredo, the head of Rio’s state police, in an interview with O Globo. “It’s a fantastic tool. It’s time that the police modernise.”
The news comes after a spate of robberies during last year’s Carnival festivities, and is in keeping with the tough-on-crime leanings of Brazil’s former President Michel Temer, as well as controversial new President Jair Bolsonaro and Rio Governor Wilson Witzel. Temer placed Rio’s police under military control, while Witzel has expressed interest in the use of police snipers and drones to fire on suspected criminals.
Civil Rights groups in the United States and Europe have repeatedly criticized the use of facial recognition programs for police surveillance. It is not yet clear what the public response will be in Brazil.
Source: The Star
January 28, 2019 – by Eric Weiss