São Paulo will monitor GPS to ensure social isolation

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Treatment of personal data remains a gray area in Brazil.

The São Paulo state administration will notify people who do not comply with quarantine rules in the state. Notices will be sent by the four largest telephone companies in the country: Vivo, Claro, Oi, and TIM. The collected GPS data will then be sent to the municipal governments of areas with more than 30,000 inhabitants, to help local administrations define isolation policies. Authorities say that 80 percent of Covid-19 cases in the state are located in the city of São Paulo and its 39 neighboring municipalities. 

These monitoring efforts in São Paulo come as a response to the low percentage of people reportedly adhering to social isolation, with only 49 percent staying at home, per government data. Last week, rates were at 60 percent. According to Governor João Doria, the goal is to get 70 percent of people into self-isolation. The GPS monitoring adopted in São Paulo already takes place in other cities in Brazil, as shown by The Brazilian Report — and raises several data privacy issues. Tech companies say no user can be identified by their data.