Tech Roundup, Jul. 26, 2019 | Could Brazil ban 5G technology?

Tech Roundup for July 26 | Could Brazil ban 5G technology?

You’re reading The Brazilian Report‘s weekly tech roundup, a digest of the main news about technology and innovation in Brazil. This week’s topics: A possible 5G ban in Santa Catarina, facial recognition for law enforcement, hacked authorities, and the cut-throat ride-sharing app market in São Paulo. Happy reading!

Southern state to ban 5G?

A lawmaker in the southern state of Santa Catarina has proposed a statewide ban on the

testing and implementation of 5G internet. The term “5G” refers to the fifth generation of the internet, which promises faster connection speeds and opens up the possibility for new technological developments, such as the Internet of Things. The <a href="">first public demonstration of the new-gen technology</a> was conducted in the state capital Florianópolis last month. The main motivation for the test, cited in the proposal, was a concern for adverse health effects.&nbsp;</p> <p>Until now, the World Health Organization has found no link between 5G frequencies emitted by electronic devices and human health, although in their 2017 report on Medical and cosmetic uses of Non-Ionizing Radiation (NIR) devices, it was noted that gathering data on the medical effects of technology takes time; if we are to see effects, it may not be for many years, if not decades. It also stated that while “emissions will be sparse and low … there will be lots of them,” referring to the fact that there could be up to 80 billion objects worldwide connected to the Internet of Things by next year.</p> <p>While precaution has its merits, similar concerns about health have been raised continuously since the inception of cellular devices. In terms of 5G, Brazil is <a href="">late to the game</a>, and neighboring countries are already launching their networks. Banning 5G in the state of Santa Catarina is practically guaranteed to slow innovation, ultimately opening the possibility that over 300 startups and 21 incubators located there will move to other locations.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>São Paulo Metro plans to use face recognition tech</h2> <p>Facial recognition made headlines last week because of the wide array of rights that users signed away when entering the Russian application FaceApp. In exchange for showing users what they look like with white hair and wrinkles, FaceApp gained “perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, [and] fully-paid” rights to millions of photographs. This type of data can be compiled and used for a myriad of purposes, not least facial recognition software.&nbsp;</p> <p>São Paulo’s metro system plans to incorporate software like this into its security measures. The expectation is that using facial recognition will help authorities identify suspected or known criminals. However, facial recognition is very much in its infancy, and false-positive rates in crowds can be as high as 92 percent. According to Joana Varon, from the NGO Coding Rights, <a href="">false positives happen more often among black people</a>, especially black women.</p> <p>But these systems certainly have potential. As more companies gather data using <a href="">the technology</a>, the higher are the chances that machine learning will be used to improve accuracy and deliver more acceptable results.</p> <p>While the use of facial recognition may seem daunting and presents issues regarding <a href="">data protection and privacy</a>, there is something to be said for bringing updated technology into public security. Currently, the São Paulo metro uses—along with cameras—an anonymous tip line called <em>disque denuncia</em>, or call &amp; report, whereby any person can phone (or in some cities, text) authorities to report suspicious or illicit behavior. This type of community policing of course opens the door for misleading report, as well as the bystander effect (whereby individuals are less likely to offer help if others are present). Both concerns would become obsolete with the implementation of this sophisticated technology.</p> <p>The plan for facial recognition in São Paulo will begin with three metro lines and has a predicted investment of BRL 69 million. Companies are expected to pitch proposals next month.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>President Bolsonaro among 1,000 hacked authorities</h2> <p>Another prominent figure has been added to the list of Brazilian authorities to have been hacked: none other than the head of state himself. What is worrisome is the seeming ease with which four individuals have hacked the leading public authorities in the country. If they indeed managed to steal private information using a simple Caller ID Spoofing scheme (a sort of phone-based identity theft), it makes us wonder what would happen if a foreign power decided to carry out a cyberattack on a much larger scale.</p> <p>If you want to know more about the case and its implications:</p> <ul><li>Reporters Martha Castro and Natalia Scalzaretto interview executive director of the Institute for Technology &amp; Society, Fabro Steibel, and Marcelo Lau, coordinator of the Cybersecurity masters’ program at the Paulista University of Computing and Administration, about the <a href="">implications of data protection for national security</a>;</li><li>This week&#8217;s Explaining Brazil podcast spoke with Microsoft&#8217;s Elias Abdala Neto, Bruna dos Santos from NGO Coding Rights, and Luca Belli from Fundação Getulio Vargas about <a href="">Brazil&#8217;s new data protection law</a>;</li><li>Lawyer Astrid de Pelleport covers the ins-and-outs of what to expect in terms of <a href="">personal rights and business compliance</a> in reference to the new regulations on how to manage user data;</li><li>Frederico Meinberg Ceroy, president of the Brazilian Institute of Cyberlaw, discusses the different <a href="">types of personal data</a> and how these categories interact with the law.</li><li>If you want a recap of the Car Wash leaks, listen to the <a href="">64th episode of our podcast</a>, which includes a chat with <em>The Intercept</em>&#8216;s managing editor Andrew Fishman.</li></ul> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Picap</h2> <p>The Columbian rideshare app Picap recently launched a pilot program in São Paulo and is already at risk of being shut down. The app, which was deemed illegal in its country of origin, offers services similar to apps like Uber or Taxi 99. What makes it different? The rides are on motorcycles, rather than in cars.</p> <p>The company hopes to offer rides cheaper and faster than their automobile companions. However, the habitually unsafe driving habits of Brazilian motorcyclists and the existing tensions between authorities and transportation apps makes São Paulo a hard market to break into. Mayor Bruno Covas is already taking measures to fine moto-taxis in an effort to shut down Picap operations.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>École 42</h2> <p>French programming school École 42 launched in Brazil by opening 800 free spots in Rio and São Paulo. The innovative program is tuition-free by design, and entirely funded by French billionaire Xavier Niel. It is extremely selective, with only 0.12 percent out of 700,000 initial applicants accepted in France.&nbsp;</p> <p>The selectivity is for good reason. There are no teachers on the course: the program runs off experiential and peer-to-peer learning. Potential students must prove their capacities for logical reasoning, systemic thinking, and mental fortitude. As Brazil’s <a href="">tech market is growing</a>, the chance to have more qualified coders to fill job vacancies is promising.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Uber backs women’s league&nbsp;</h2> <p>This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup saw increased levels of support worldwide, and Brazilian football player Marta set a world record for the only person, male or female, to have scored in five World Cups. Uber took the opportunity to ride this wave throughout the year, as the startup announced last week that it would be the official sponsor of the Brazilian Women’s Football League. Uber also sponsored the <a href="">pride parade</a> this year, suggesting that diversity marketing is high on their list of priorities.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Events</h2> <h4><a href="">Startup Weekend</a> (Several Locations and Dates)</h4> <p>In partnership with Google, TechStars offers weekend conferences for entrepreneurs all over Brazil. The events are half technical and half business, drawing in people working in both IT and growth strategy positions.&nbsp;</p> <h4><a href="">Gramado</a> (Rio Grande do Sul)</h4> <ul><li>Described as a “brainstorming session,” Gramado is an event for early-stage start-ups looking to discuss disruption in their fields. The third edition takes place July 31-August 2.</li></ul> <h4><a href="">Startup Summit</a>&nbsp; (Florianópolis)</h4> <ul><li>Now in its second year, this conference is for entrepreneurs looking to scale their ventures. August 15-16.

Read the full story NOW!

Juliana Costa

Juliana is a growth strategist and contributor to The Brazilian Report