Could Brazil’s data protection law be enforced next week?

. Aug 07, 2020
data protection law pandemic Photo: LanKogal/Shutterstock

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We’re covering the confusion around Brazil’s data protection law. What is going on in the Brazilian job market? And a sad threshold to be crossed in Brazil’s Covid-19 fight.

Pandemic fuels confusion around Brazil’s data protection law

Approved in 2018, Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (LGPD) was originally

set to come into force this month, but the government issued a decree <a href="">postponing its application to May 2021</a>. However, Congress could make a U-turn and revert to the initial dates — meaning that companies would be required to comply with new data protection requirements as soon as August 14.</p> <p><strong>What the law says. </strong>Brazil&#8217;s data protection legislation, inspired by the European GDPR, is considered by digital activists as an advance in data protection in Brazil. It establishes that Brazilian citizens retain full ownership of their data and companies and the government are responsible for handling it and keeping it safe.&nbsp;</p> <ul><li>Non-compliance or breaches may lead to fines of up to 2 percent of a company’s revenue in Brazil — limited to BRL 50 million — plus daily fines. However, penalties would only start being enforced in <a href="">August 2021</a>.</li></ul> <p><strong>Trouble.</strong> In Brazil, consumers can attach their fiscal ID to their purchases in order to get small tax kickbacks. This is used as a way to reduce tax evasion, but it also means that nearly all businesses in Brazil&nbsp;— from multinational corporations to mom and pop stores —&nbsp;deal with sensitive data and must adapt.</p> <p><strong>Why it matters.</strong> Small companies are the most vulnerable to this, as they lack the resources and experience to <a href="">deal with the regulations</a>, while international companies are already used to such laws abroad.</p> <p><strong>So why rush things?</strong> &#8220;The pandemic has made people more reliant on online services. Meaning that they are pouring more data into the web —&nbsp;and protecting that information is crucial,&#8221; says Congressman Damião Feliciano, rapporteur of the case in the House.</p> <ul><li>Lawmakers must vote on the presidential decree by August 26.</li></ul> <iframe src="" width="100%" height="232" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Brazil&#8217;s job market has not yet recovered</h2> <p>While Economy Ministry numbers on formal employment show a slowdown in the pace of layoffs around Brazil, data from a monthly household survey suggests the pandemic continues to ravage the country&#8217;s job market. Over Q2 2020, more than 8.9 million workers had no kind of occupation, either formal or informal.</p> <p><strong>Beware.</strong> Official unemployment figures sit at 13.3 percent —&nbsp;but the number understates the crisis. That&#8217;s because millions of people have stopped looking for work and are not accounted for as &#8220;unemployed workers.&#8221;&nbsp;</p> <ul><li>Brazil’s <a href="">workforce underutilization rate</a> — a more accurate measure of unemployment — also reached an all-time high of 29.1 percent, increasing by a staggering 24.4 percent in relation to the first quarter of 2020.&nbsp;</li></ul> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/3402980" data-url=""><script src=""></script></div> <p><strong>Why it matters.</strong> Almost 70 percent of jobs lost in the past quarter were informal positions, deepening the crisis for millions of unskilled workers. That makes the BRL 600 coronavirus emergency salary created by the federal government all the more necessary.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Yes, but … </strong>Budgeted at BRL 50 billion a month, the aid program is simply beyond Brazil&#8217;s means. President Jair Bolsonaro has said, on multiple occasions, that the government cannot afford to continue paying the aid for much longer.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Brazil nears 100,000 coronavirus deaths</h2> <p>In April, President Jair Bolsonaro was criticized for replying &#8220;<a href="">So what?</a>&#8221; when asked about the growing coronavirus death toll in the country. At that point, Brazil had just topped the 5,000-death mark, surpassing official numbers in China. Now, as the country&#8217;s deaths near the 100,000 mark, the president has put his foot in his mouth once again. During a live social media broadcast alongside Interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, he said: &#8220;It&#8217;s getting to 100,000 [deaths], maybe today. But let&#8217;s get on with our lives and find a way out of this.&#8221; Mr. Bolsonaro added that he is &#8220;sorry&#8221; for the casualties.</p> <ul><li>Mr. Pazuello mentioned that most patients recover and that &#8220;life goes on.&#8221;</li></ul> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2641109" data-url=""><script src=""></script></div> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2641192" data-url=""><script src=""></script></div> <p><strong>Meanwhile … </strong>A study conducted by the University of São Paulo&#8217;s Medical School suggests that Covid-19 reinfections are possible. The results came from the Hospital das Clínicas in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo where a nursing technician tested positive for Covid-19 on May 13 and again on June 27 — both times experiencing symptoms of the disease.</p> <p><strong>Why it matters.</strong> Brazil&#8217;s dysfunctional way of tackling the pandemic is creating profound consequences from a health, educational, economic, and psychological standpoint.</p> <p><strong>Vaccine.</strong> Mr. Bolsonaro signed a decree earmarking BRL 1.9 billion (USD 360 million) to purchase and eventually produce the <a href="">potential Covid-19 vaccine</a> being developed by British-Swedish lab AstraZeneca and researchers from Oxford University (and tested in Brazil).</p> <ul><li>Meanwhile, a group from São Paulo&#8217;s Butantan Biological Institute hopes to visit China to convene with researchers from Sinovac Biotech —&nbsp;which is developing another potential vaccine (also being tested in Brazil). The team tries to negotiate a flexibilization of rules demanding a 14-day quarantine for people issued from Brazil, as they cannot remain absent from work for that long.</li></ul> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>What else you need to know today</h2> <ul><li><strong>Spying. </strong>In a letter to the Supreme Court, Justice Minister André Mendonça said he couldn&#8217;t disclose details around the <a href="">alleged &#8220;secret dossier&#8221; his department created</a>, with information of almost 600 civil servants and law enforcement agents who identify themselves as &#8220;anti-fascist.&#8221; The Supreme Court had given Mr. Mendonça 48 hours to explain his position.</li><li><strong>Credit. </strong>Senators passed a bill capping credit card and overdraft interest at 30 percent a year. These are the two most expensive credit options in Brazil, with average annual rates at 110 percent (for overdrafts) and 300 percent (for overdue credit cards). The use of credit cards and installment credit is widespread in Brazil, with over <a href="">77 percent of households exposed to them in some way</a>. But some point out possible negative side effects of the bill, such as banks starting to decline access to credit for riskier clients and increasing the interest rates of other modes of credit. The bill now goes to the House for debate.</li><li><strong>Environment. </strong>The number of deforestation alerts recorded by the National Institute of Space Research were down 28 percent in July — the first reduction in 14 months. Still, the accumulated total for the past 12 months is 34 percent larger than the previous year. The official figures will be announced later today — but Vice President Hamilton Mourão revealed some results first-hand on social media.</li><li><strong>Guedes.</strong> Cornered about rising deforestation numbers under the Bolsonaro administration, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes lashed out during a call with <a href="">international investors</a> and diplomats. He accused the Americans of &#8220;killing&#8221; indigenous peoples and not caring for their own forests. &#8220;We understand your concern. You want to spare us from deforesting our forests like you did with yours.&#8221;</li><li><strong>Impeachment.</strong> The State Congress of Amazonas has shelved the impeachment process against Governor Wilson Lima. He was accused of malfeasance for purchasing overpriced ventilators for coronavirus patients from a wine importer. Amazonas was the first Brazilian state to experience a full-scale collapse of its healthcare system and still has one of the highest Covid-19 death rates in the country. Another two governors, Rio&#8217;s Wilson Witzel and Santa Catarina&#8217;s Carlos Moisés, <a href="">also face impeachment proceedings</a>.</li><li><strong>Bars and restaurants.</strong> According to sector representatives, two-thirds of the 70,000-plus registered bars and restaurants in the state of São Paulo have reopened in recent weeks. However, 54 percent of them report making less than 10 percent of their pre-pandemic revenue. Around 160,000 workers from the sector have been laid off in São Paulo since the coronavirus arrived in Brazil.

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