Brazil Tech Roundup, Jul. 5, 2019 | Data privacy as a basic human right

. Jul 05, 2019
data privacy

You’re reading The Brazilian Report‘s weekly tech roundup, a digest of the main pieces of news regarding technology and innovation in Brazil. This week’s topics: Data privacy, automation, cryptocurrencies, and more. Happy reading!

Data privacy: a basic right?

The Brazilian Senate approved a constitutional amendment which would make personal data protection a basic human right in the country. If the bill now passes in the House of Representatives, only the federal government will be able to legislate on data treatment and protection.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This piece of legislation falls in line with a larger move towards giving citizens more data privacy. In August 2018, Brazil passed its General Data Protection Law, modeled after the European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The law gives citizens more control over their own data and imposes a series of obligations on companies which hold personal information of their clients.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the case of a breach, fines can go up to BRL 50 million (or 2 percent of the company&#8217;s gross revenue, whichever is the largest). By transforming data privacy into a basic right, lawmakers give citizens even more legal tools to counter companies illegally using their information.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">More restrictive laws, however, call into question many practices that until now have been considered industry standard. For example, will </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Google’s new Wi-Fi stations</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in São Paulo be allowed to collect phone numbers, as planned?&nbsp;</span></p> <ul> <li><strong>Go deeper:</strong> <a href="">Data privacy — How to prepare for Brazil’s new Data Protection Law</a></li> </ul> <hr> <h2>Cashierless stores arriving in Brazil</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">GPA S.A., the parent company of supermarket chain Pão de Açúcar, has teamed up with Microsoft to open cashierless stores in the country. Going beyond self-checkout machines, these mostly automated supermarkets would incorporate cellular apps and lockable containers for a technologically advanced grocery store experience.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Casino, the group controlling GPA S.A., opened its first cashierless store in Paris last year, and plans to launch in São Paulo under the “Minuto Pão de Açucar” brand by the end of the year.&nbsp; The chain will likely compete with Brazilian startup Zaitt, which joined forces with Carrefour to expand their 24-hour cashierless convenience stores. This new wave of “phygital” supermarkets will combine physical and digital shopping experiences.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For example, consumers will be able to order their items online, generate a unique code, and use the code to open lockable containers with their orders inside. On the other end, those without a set shopping list would be able to peruse the aisle and pay for individual items using their phones. Both methods aim to make grocery store lines obsolete and reduce the number of employees needed to run a store.&nbsp;</span></p> <ul> <li><strong>Go deeper:</strong> <a href="">Industry 4.0: is Brazil ready for the change?</a></li> </ul> <hr> <h2>Uber in Brazil</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ride-hailing app Uber had a big week in Brazil. Not only did it launch its points system Uber Pro, but it also unveiled an </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">electric scooter-sharing system</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> called Lime. Uber Pro acts as an incentive system for drivers, offering perks like cashback on gasoline and priority booking for longer trips. It is an attempt to keep drivers reasonably satisfied by offering more support for those who maintain a high enough rating.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Their launch of Lime comes at an opportune time, as Rio de Janeiro moves to regulate the use of shared electric scooters. Local government has </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">drafted</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (but not yet published) a decree imposing rules for users, but also requiring companies to provide scooters equipped with speed meters and signal lights. The regulations aim at preventing accidents, and Uber has gotten in the spirit by launching “First Ride Academy,” a weekend training session for first-time users. Although not wearing helmets is a fineable offense in the most micro-mobile cities worldwide, Rio has opted to include this safety measure only as a recommendation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">São Paulo is also debating over a regulation of its own. On May 14, Mayor Bruno Covas issued a decree to regulate the service—but as companies failed to comply, scooters were removed altogether. The providers, however, struck a deal with the municipal government to sit down with public officials and put together a set of rules for the city. </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">Negotiations</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> are ongoing.</span></p> <ul> <li><strong>Go deeper: </strong><a href="">Brazil debates micro-mobility as scooters take over streets of big cities</a></li> </ul> <hr> <h2>Cryptocurrency scare</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Kaspersky’s 2019 Cryptocurrency Report, the vast majority of people worldwide lack trust in cryptocurrency. In Brazil, that feeling isn’t helped by the fact that energy company Alexandria Holding EIRELI was fined by Brazil&#8217;s Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) for brokering for the crypto coin LexToken without authorization, per a July 2 report.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although 76% of Brazilians have never invested in cryptocurrency, it is one of the more popular investment types, beating out São Paulo’s stock market. LexToken is technically categorized as a Security Token Offering, rather than a cryptocurrency, because it is directly tied to the development of the Plan for Renewable Energy Plants (true cryptocurrencies rely mainly on supply and demand).&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tokens generally gain value through Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), a process comparable to traditional IPOs, wherein the company offers tokens in exchange for investment. The CVM has never registered an ICO, effectively making this form of fundraising illegal. Alexandria Holding faces a daily fine of BRL 5,000 while the token continues to be offered publicly. The company filed an appeal for legally secured contracts to be allowed to reach completion.</span></p> <hr> <h2>Also noteworthy</h2> <p><b>Google.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Tech giant Google announced plans to extend its underwater cable Tannat—which currently runs from Brazil to Uruguay—to Argentina by August 2020. A total of 19 active sea cables will have landing sites on Brazil’s coasts in the next two years, priming Brazil to be a communication hub in the new internet economy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><b>Nanotechnology.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Researchers at the University of Minas Gerais have developed a rapid test kit using nanotechnology. It reduces costs by over 60 percent by limiting the need for laboratories and delivering 90-minute results. The kit is currently used to identify leukemia in cats, but has wide potential to assess human health in the coming years.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><b>App malfunction. </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Users all over North and South America, as well as Europe, suffered glitches on WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram last Wednesday. Fake reports tied the temporary outage to a decision by a Brazilian court (something that has happened in the past). The apps were stabilized within 10 hours, but not before garnering a grand total of 21,000 complaints within just a few hours.</span></p> <p><b>GTA in Brazil?</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The video game Grand Theft Auto 6 is rumored to be set in Brazil and would show the drug trafficking market of the 1970s and 1980s. The country seems to be gaining popularity as a backdrop in TV and film, as seen by São Paulo’s appearance on Netflix series Black Mirror earlier this year.&nbsp;</span></p> <hr> <h2>Events</h2> <ul> <li><a href="">Smart City Business Brazil Congress &amp; Expo 2019 (São Paulo)</a></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">July 22 will be the opening of a 3-day conference for city planning and urban design. Businesses, mayors, and governors will all convene to find solutions for city development.&nbsp;</span></p> <ul> <li><a href="">CyberSecurity Summit (São Paulo)</a></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">July 25-26

Read the full story NOW!

Juliana Costa

Juliana is a growth strategist and contributor to The Brazilian Report

Our content is protected by copyright. Want to republish The Brazilian Report? Email us at