Brazil takes a step forward in cybersecurity

. Feb 10, 2020
Brazil takes a step forward in cybersecurity Photo: Robert Avgustin/Shutterstock

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This week, we talk about Brazil’s new cybersecurity policies. And the globe-trotting strategy of São Paulo Governor João Doria.

Brazil’s cybersecurity policies to be finally implemented

President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree last week establishing Brazil’s cybersecurity strategy from now until 2023.

It is the first of five pillars of the National Information Security Strategy, approved by former President Michel Temer in 2018. The other pillars include cyber defense, critical infrastructure security, secret information security, and protection against data breaches.</p> <p><strong>Why it matters.</strong> Cyberwarfare is the next frontier of war. The Brazilian government, however, has proven to be particularly aloof on the matter, showing a worrisome track record of <a href="">poor handling of sensitive data</a>.</p> <p><strong>What has been approved.</strong> The cybersecurity strategy comes after 31 meetings over seven months. Here are the key points:</p> <ul><li>Efforts to include new types of cybercrimes in the penal code;</li><li>Elaborate norms on emerging technologies;</li><li>Draft a bill for a future Cybersecurity Law, with guidelines that will provide &#8220;macro-strategic alignment&#8221; to the sector and &#8220;contribute to elevating the security of citizens and organizations;&#8221;</li><li>Establish minimum security requirements for the &#8220;full, responsible, and safe use of 5G technology.&#8221;</li><li>Propose the inclusion of basic cybersecurity teachings in Brazil&#8217;s education curriculum;</li><li>Stimulate the creation of cybersecurity-related university programs and startups in the field;</li><li>Stimulate the use of encrypted information for sensitive data;</li><li>Make the use of digital certificates more widespread;</li><li>Perfect and encourage the use of safe devices by government officials and agencies.</li></ul> <p><strong>Not enough.</strong> While it is positive that Brazil is finally trying to put its cybersecurity plan into action, the proposals remain awfully vague and basic. The country still needs to invest more in cybersecurity—especially with Brazil&#8217;s new data protection law coming into effect in August.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>São Paulo&#8217;s João Doria is a globe-trotting governor. But will his strategy work?</h2> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img loading="lazy" width="1024" height="576" src="" alt="João Doria (2nd from the right) talks business in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Gov.SP" class="wp-image-31402" srcset=" 1024w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /><figcaption>João Doria (2nd from the right) talks business in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Gov.SP</figcaption></figure> <p>After becoming Mayor of São Paulo in January 2017, João Doria became notable for his numerous out-of-state trips, taking 43 in his first 11 months in office. The trend continued after Mr. Doria left the municipal government and became the Governor of São Paulo. This week, he begins his second major international trip <em>in 2020</em>. He will be in attendance for the opening of a São Paulo state trade office in Dubai—the second such office abroad after a first was set up in Shanghai last year. Some 47 businesspeople and five cabinet members will attend the event, a push to obtain foreign investment for projects in his state.</p> <p><strong>What&#8217;s at stake.</strong> São Paulo is seeking investors for infrastructure projects such as the concessions of 22 regional airports, as well as highways and railways. Mr. Doria also wants venture capitalists that would enable the creation of São Paulo’s very own “Silicon Valley”—which he hopes will be his flagship program.</p> <p><strong>Shaking hands. </strong>Mr. Doria will meet representatives of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, as well as Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The São Paulo team will be present at the Dubai Sugar Conference.</p> <p><strong>Why it matters.</strong> Mr. Doria has built a prominent political career over the last four years and has not hidden his presidential ambitions. His constant trips have two main goals: to make voters from outside of his state more aware of him, and to present himself to Brazilian elites as a &#8220;more-polished&#8221; version of Jair Bolsonaro.</p> <p><strong>Effectiveness.</strong> Fact-checking agency Lupa shows that only two of five partnership and investment deals announced by Mr. Doria in the aftermath of his 2019 Davos trip have already borne concrete investment for the state.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Markets</h2> <p>Analysts have grown optimistic about state-controlled oil company Petrobras after the National Development Bank (BNDES) sold its minority stake, as it was considered a roadblock for stock price valuation in past weeks. Now, all eyes turn to the upcoming Q4 2019 operational results—to be published today—and earnings reports on February 19, as well as the next moves in the firm&#8217;s divestment plans. Petrobras will reportedly postpone the process to privatize oil refineries at the request of bidders themselves. Analysts at Guide Investimentos say the delay is positive, as it could translate into higher bids.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><strong><em>Natália Scalzaretto</em></strong></p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Harder on immigrants</h2> <p>The number of foreign nationals expelled from Brazil rose 85 percent in 2019—adding up to 1,238 people. Such statistics have been on a rise since 2017, when Brazil passed its new Migration Law. The new legislation grants foreigners equal rights to public services such as healthcare and education but also gave the state more efficient tools to monitor foreigners who are in Brazil irregularly. An immigrant can be sent back to their home country by way of: (1) expulsion, when a foreign national commits a felony); (2) deportation, when someone has an irregular visa status, and (3) extradition, when someone is handed over to another government to answer for a crime.</p> <div class="flourish-embed" data-src="visualisation/1367394"><script src=""></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Looking ahead</h2> <p><strong>Growth.</strong> Chinese inflation reached an eight-year high—5.4 percent per annum in January from 4.5 percent in December—and JPMorgan has lowered its GDP forecast for China this year, from 5.9 to 5.4 percent. This is bound to hit Brazil hard, as China is the country&#8217;s undisputed leading trading partner. On Monday, the Central Bank releases its <a href="">Focus Report</a>, a weekly survey with top-rated investment firms about the outlook of the economy—and this week&#8217;s data should reflect the deepening pessimism. JPMorgan has already lowered its expectations, from 2-percent growth to 1.9 percent.</p> <p><strong>Reforms. </strong>Economy Minister Paulo Guedes promised to send his administrative reform proposal to Congress this week. The mood between the Executive and Legislative branches has seen better days, and Mr. Guedes has not helped to settle things down. Last week, when defending the need for curbing public spending on federal servants, the minister called these workers &#8220;parasites,&#8221; ticking off one of the best-organized lobbies in Brasília.</p> <p><strong>Decrees.</strong> The government is relying on Congress to approve three provisional decrees within the next two weeks, before they expire. The most likely to be upheld is the decree granting pensions to children born with microcephaly due to Zika virus infections. The other two might face some resistance. One lifts obligations from state agents to publish their official acts in major newspapers; the other removes student unions&#8217; monopoly over the issuance of student IDs—crippling the left-wing student movement from its main source of revenue.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Economic activity. </strong>The week will see the disclosure of a series of important economic indicators: estimates for agricultural production in 2020 (Tuesday), retail results for December (Wednesday), services revenue (Thursday), also from December, and the Central Bank&#8217;s Economic Activity Index (IBC-Br)—considered to be the main predictor of the country&#8217;s official GDP (Friday).</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>In case you missed it</h2> <p><strong>Militias.</strong> Former police captain Adriano da Nóbrega—suspected of being one of the leaders of the notorious death squad behind the murder of city councilor Marielle Franco in 2018—was killed during a police operation in Bahia on Saturday evening. He was also involved in an alleged money laundering scheme operated from within <a href="">Senator Flávio Bolsonaro&#8217;s office</a>, while Mr. Bolsonaro was still serving as a state lawmaker in Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Nóbrega was considered a fugitive since January 2019, and his lawyer said he feared being murdered as an act of witness elimination.</p> <p><strong>5G.</strong> Brazil&#8217;s telecoms regulator approved the invitation for bids for the auction of 5G frequencies in Brazil. The document will now be submitted to a 45-day period for public consultation—and a final vote by the agency—before being published. Government officials say the 5G spectrum auction could happen later in 2020, but it is more likely to be delayed until 2021. As we reported in our <a href="">February 7 Daily Briefing</a>, the longer Brazil waits, the worse the impacts are on the economy, such as productivity losses and impacts on tax revenue.</p> <p><strong>Coronavirus.</strong> The Brazilian government repatriated 34 Brazilian nationals who were in the Chinese province of Hubei, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. They are undergoing a quarantine process in a military base located in the state of Goiás (alongside 24 members of the crew that rescued them). So far, none of them have shown symptoms of respiratory disease. Brazil monitors 11 suspected infections throughout the country—having already discarded 28 cases.</p> <p><strong>Oscars 2020. </strong>&#8220;<a href="">The Edge of Democracy</a>&#8221; did not take home the Academy Award for best documentary feature—which went instead to &#8220;American Factory.&#8221; The Brazilian film was a controversial take on the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and rise of the far-right in Brazil. It was praised for its cinematic merits, but it was also considered biased in favor of the Workers&#8217; Party—and criticized for director Petra Costa&#8217;s decision to <a href="">doctor historical images without warning the audience</a> about it.</p> <p><strong>Impeachment.</strong> A group of 26 representatives and two senators from ten different parties filed an impeachment request against Education Minister Abraham Weintraub. However, it is unlikely to prosper, as (1) the Supreme Court does not traditionally meddle in matters of the Executive branch, and (2) the fact that left-wing groups want Mr. Weintraub’s impeachment should earn him points with President Bolsonaro.

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