The municipality of Rio, which is preparing to host its most important tourist event, from March 2 to 9, this year brought technology into the city's streets. As announced recently by the new chief of the Rio State Military Police, Rogério Figueredo, in a local newspaper, facial recognition software should first be installed in the Copacabana tourist district and then elsewhere.
Rio’s carnival involves significant security reinforcements since it attracts crowds each year and in particular tourists, several thousand of whom make the trip.
As the country faces an upsurge in violence, the Brazilian military police have backed the far-right policy of the new president, Jair Bolsonaro, whose line in the fight against crime is very strong. The government intends to modernize its security to deal with delinquency characterized by gang robberies or, worse, shootings involving drug gangs.
The system, which will soon be operational in Rio, records faces, license plates, and objects. In this case, it will make it possible to identify more quickly an individual subject to an arrest warrant or a suspicious vehicle thanks to its number plate. An alert message will then be sent to the nearest police car. While the system must for the moment be confined to the very popular and tourist area of Copacabana, it will also develop in other parts of the city.
This initiative is the result of a partnership between the police and the Brazilian telecommunications operator, Oi, which makes available to the authorities the software itself developed by the Chinese supplier Huawei. This is not the first time that a Brazilian city has used this technology. Indeed, it has been tested since the end of last year in the city of Campinas in the state of São Paulo and in the state of Bahia. According to André Von Zuben, Secretary for Economic, Social and Tourism Development of Campinas, more than 130 people have already been arrested using the vehicle monitoring system.
Widely used in China for government control in public places (airports, streets, and parks...), facial recognition is expected to be deployed in many cities in Brazil.