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São Paulo City Hall resumed the public notice for the installation of 20,000 cameras with facial recognition technology. The content of the Smart Sampa program was partially modified after a series of criticisms, for determining the use of instruments to identify skin color and “loitering”.

In addition, the number of devices with facial biometrics has doubled from 500 to a thousand. The estimated annual cost of the entire program is R$70 million.

How They Work

The municipality highlighted that, unlike other cities, it will adopt a stricter protocol for the application of facial recognition. This way, only detections with 90% parity will be considered, while the rest will be automatically discarded. In addition, there is the promise that all alerts will be analyzed by a trained and qualified agent.

Images of faces can be archived, with date, time, and address, including the detection of partially covered faces (by glasses and a beard, for example). Another feature is the tracking of people considered suspicious, with the monitoring of movements and activities, based on different types of characteristics, such as color of clothing and physical shape.


According to Mayor Ricardo Nunes (MDB), the program will speed up the handling of incidents by the Metropolitan Civil Guard (GCM) and by other security agencies, including state ones. The program will operate with a series of databases, including state and federal security agencies.


Of the total, 2,500 cameras will be distributed throughout downtown, a region that is experiencing an increase in cases of theft and robbery. The program also includes 3,000 units capable of reading license plates, in addition to models with other functionalities. The forecast is that the Smart Sampa monitoring center will be provisionally installed at the city hall, on the Chá viaduct.

Our Analysis:

The use of facial recognition is contested in several parts of the country and abroad, mainly because of what organizations call a violation of individual rights and also because of the history of false positives, especially those involving black people. Some specialists in digital law and organizations defend the banning of this type of technology in the country. There are also those who advocate the responsible application of facial biometrics, and that in case of any problems, there should be an improvement in its use, not a suspension. Similar proposals were suspended in recent years by the Justice of São Paulo, such as one applied to the São Paulo Metro and another from the concessionaire of Line 4-Yellow, which had a commercial bias. However, despite the problems these gadgets may bring, they have played an important role in the protection of assets while allied to other measures.

Source: R7

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