Data authority to investigate permission for government to sell citizen data

Waldemar Gonçalves, chair of Brazil's data protection regulator, the ANPD. Photo: Wilson Dias/ABr
Waldemar Gonçalves, chair of Brazil’s data protection regulator, the ANPD. Photo: Wilson Dias/ABr

Brazil’s data protection regulator, the ANPD, will investigate an ordinance that allows Serpro, the federal data processing service, to sell access to its database to third parties. 

The move has drawn little attention from the Brazilian press despite its potentially massive implications — as Serpro holds data on every Brazilian alive. The Brazilian Report explained the issue in Wednesday’s Brazil Daily newsletter.

In a statement, the regulator said it will assess whether the permission is in line with the General Data Protection Law, which prevents the processing of identifiable data from citizens — especially without their express consent.

The Federal Revenue Service claims the data is already public, but the database includes information on electronic invoices and the professional qualifications of business owners, which are private.

The government had planned to sell off Serpro, but was unable to include the state-owned company in its privatization program during an election year. Charging for access to data would be a way to finance its services, according to the government.