Brazil to create massive biometric database of all citizens

Bubbajim

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

The truism that knowledge is power has perhaps never been more relevant than in our current age of ‘Big Data.’ This idea has clearly not escaped Jair Bolsonaro’s notice, as this week he signed a presidential decree to instigate the creation of a massive, single database to hold sensitive personal information on every one of the country’s 200 million citizens.

Initially, this database would hold more commonly captured information, such as names, date of birth, social security numbers and addresses. But in a second stage, more sensitive data would be added including fingerprints, facial scans, irises, voices and gait.

All this information stored in one place will undoubtedly draw the attention of hackers, as it’s a veritable gold-mine of personal data. To compound the problem of security, the database “will be shared as widely as possible” within governmental departments.

The arguments for such a database are simple to make: it’s simpler to access and maintain, it allows for greater consistency across government departments, and it will likely lead to fewer inaccuracies or less duplicated effort. But it’s the arguments against such a system which need to be posited, too.

One strong counter-argument comes from a very recent example. As reported by Forbes a week ago, another dataset of 92 million records, purportedly from an existing Brazilian government department, was auctioned on the dark web. This contained information such as name, gender, date of birth, taxpayer ID and mother’s name for almost half the country’s population.

Such treasure-troves of personal data create massive incentives for criminals, and time and again we see instances of data breaches -- in countries and institutions holding that information all across the globe -- which suggest that nefarious actors are outwitting company employees or governmental officials.

President Bolsonaro was elected on a ‘law-and-order’ platform, holding information on every citizen about how they walk, talk, or look could be a step too far.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
If these were stored without ANY identification such as name, SSAN, country or anything else that could be tracked back to the individual (other than the obvious NDA info) I would have no issue with it, but given how aggressive a number of different industries are (ie: medical, pharma, etc) about obtaining preexisting conditions and other info by which they can unfairly alter insurance rates, coverages, etc. I just don't think it is either reasonable or even necessary for that matter.
 

Damocles

TS Rookie
I bet hackers are rubbing their hands together in glee at this news, especially as pretty well ALL governments in most countries seem to be clueless about any form of internet security. I see no concrete mention of what this vast database will actually be used for. I can see it all ending in tears, when (NOT "if") all this glorious information gets spirited away by miscreants, as it surely will. Poor folk won't know what's hit them when identity theft happens.
 

Mr Majestyk

TS Maniac
Tropical Trump is an even bigger POS than Herr Dumbf. This scumbag is right up there with Erdogan and Duerte. Nice work Brazil electing a corrupt dictatorial despot. UN should invade Brazil to save the Amazon.
 
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