Tech Roundup, Jan. 10, 2020 | Brazilian government gives Google an ultimatum

. Jan 10, 2020
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You’re reading The Brazilian Report‘s weekly tech roundup, a digest of the most important news on technology and innovation in Brazil. This week’s topics: Google v. Brazil. The main tech events in the country. Embraer’s new endeavor. And Brazil’s 11th unicorn.

The Google ultimatum

The Brazilian government has given Google

ten days to answer whether or not it wants to agree a settlement on a case concerning data privacy violation. The Justice Ministry proposed a consent decree with the tech behemoth in connection with an investigation launched in February, after prosecutors accused the Silicon Valley firm of violating the privacy of Gmail users and used the data for microtargeting advertisement.</p> <p><strong>Why it matters.</strong> Brazil&#8217;s internet legal framework established data privacy principles as a core value in the legislation. But the country still struggles to punish tech companies that violate data privacy norms. If convicted, Google could be fined up to BRL 9.7 million—which is negligible for a company that posted USD 136.8 billion in revenue in 2018 alone.</p> <p><strong>History.</strong> The investigation is an offshoot of a 2015 case filed in a federal court in the state of Piauí. In 2018, a judge sided with Google, but federal prosecutors appealed and the case remains open. Last year, the Justice Ministry said it found evidence the company had accessed the content of emails for marketing purposes without users&#8217; explicit consent.</p> <p><strong>Response.</strong> Google has stated it hasn&#8217;t accessed users&#8217; emails for microtargeting since 2017. &#8220;We are confident that our products comply with Brazilian legislation.&#8221;</p> <p><strong>New law.</strong> Brazil&#8217;s new <a href="">Data Protection Law</a> comes into effect this year, and includes <a href="">much harsher punishments</a> for companies that don&#8217;t abide by the rules. Penalties can reach up to 2 percent of a company’s gross revenue in Brazil in the previous year, or BRL 50 million—depending on which is larger—per violation.</p> <p><strong>Basic right?</strong> The Brazilian Senate approved a constitutional amendment which would make personal <a href="">data protection a basic human right</a>. If the bill passes in the lower house, only the federal government will be able to legislate on data treatment and protection.</p> <div id="buzzsprout-player-1452826"></div> <script src=";player=small" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Main 2020 tech events in Brazil</h2> <p>As the 53rd annual <a href="">CES in Las Vegas</a>—the largest consumer technology show on the planet—wows the world with self-driving cars, weapon detection software, and amazingly modern sex tech, we circle the calendar with the main technology and innovation events in Brazil this year. Here they are:</p> <ul><li><strong>Festival Path</strong> (June 6-7): lectures, workshops, and cultural experiences to discuss the innovation business environment in Brazil. Since 2013, 2,500 speakers and 65,000 people attended the event.</li><li><strong>Campus Party</strong> (July 7-12): arguably the biggest tech event in Brazil, Campus Party has everything, from robotics challenges to investment meetups to dozens of workshops. In 22 years, Campus Party has already had 77 editions.</li><li><strong>Whow! Festival</strong> (July 21-23): with lectures and mentorships, this event also tries to connect investors and startups.</li><li><strong>Gramado Summit</strong> (August 5-7): since 2017, entrepreneurs and multinationals visit Brazil&#8217;s southernmost state to visit company stands and look for attractive projects they can invest in.</li><li><strong>Fire Festival</strong> (August 27-29): not to be mistaken with the infamous Fyre Festival, this event is based in Belo Horizonte and focused on digital communication tools.</li><li><strong>Futurecom</strong> (October 20-22): this event combines lectures, interactive experiences, and company stands at which startups can pitch their businesses to investors.</li></ul> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Embraer strikes deal with startup for deliveries using autonomous drones</h2> <p>EmbraerX, the innovative business division of Brazil&#8217;s planemaker Embraer, <a href="">announced</a> this week it has signed a deal with Elroy Air—a startup focused on autonomous air-bound delivery systems. &#8220;Booming eCommerce is forcing the cargo market to grow and seek new solutions, creating a distinct need for more flexibility,&#8221; said EmbraerX CEO Antonio Campello in a statement.</p> <p>Embraer will work with Elroy Air&#8217;s Chaparral system, capable of delivering cargo of 100-200 kilograms over distances of up to 480 kilometers.</p> <p><strong>Why it matters. </strong>Last year, <a href="">Embraer sold off 80 percent</a> of its commercial jet division—which was the company&#8217;s most profitable branch. At 50 years old, the <a href="">company&#8217;s survival</a> could rely on its capacity to innovate. In 2017 alone, the company signed 22 new cooperation deals for the development of new technologies.</p> <p><strong>Disruption.</strong> Besides the autonomous cargo delivery endeavor, Embraer is collaborating with Uber in developing an Electrical Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft—also being referred to as a &#8220;Flying Taxi.&#8221; Following Uber’s guidance, the craft has high-mounted wings fitted with multiple small helicopter-like rotors (eight, in this case). Instead of fossil fuels, however, the flying vehicle will run on electricity.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>A new unicorn in Brazil</h2> <p><strong><em>Note:</em></strong><em> This piece of information was reported previously on our </em><a href=""><em>Daily Briefing</em></a><em>—for premium subscribers only. </em><a href=""><em>Become one now</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>The year has barely begun, but Brazil has already registered its first new unicorn—which is the term used for startups valued over USD 1 billion. Real-estate company Loft has gained the prestigious status recently raising USD 175 million in its third investment round, led by U.S. venture capital funds Vulcan Capital and Andreesen Horowitz.</p> <p><strong>What is it?</strong> Founded in August 2018, Loft logs data from real estate transactions and uses artificial intelligence to come up with purchasing offers to listed properties. After a deal is closed, the properties are renovated by partner contractors following scalable, standardized plans.&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2019, the company reportedly dealt over 1,000 flats—and has 300 more at its disposal. Loft started operating in higher-income areas of São Paulo and is now present in 18 neighborhoods.</p> <p><strong>Why it matters. </strong>Unicorns are becoming less mythical in Brazil: Loft is the country&#8217;s 11th, and Brazil trailed only the U.S. and China in the number of new unicorns last year. The results are a testament to the dynamism of Brazil&#8217;s startup scene.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Take note</h2> <p><strong>Fintech.</strong> Nubank announced its first acquisition this week: Plataformatec, a software engineering company. The deal was struck after Nubank eyed up Plataformatec&#8217;s team of 50 engineers. “Our biggest bottleneck today is in the technical area and Plataformatec&#8217;s team has been consulting for us for some time, with a very high level of talent,” explains Cristina Junqueira, Nubank&#8217;s co-founder.</p> <p><strong>Social media.</strong> Brazil was chosen by Twitter as one of the 15 markets to try out its new ad unit, Spotlight. It will be displayed at the top of the Explore tab, which houses Twitter&#8217;s trending topics and is one of the most frequently visited sectors outside of the platform&#8217;s main feed.</p> <p><strong>Stop spinning. </strong>American startup Lime, the world&#8217;s largest <a href="">scooter-sharing company</a>, is pulling out of Brazil and another 11 markets after only six months. The move—which is coupled with the laying off of about 14 percent of the company&#8217;s workforce—comes as Lime seeks profitability in 2020. After explosive growth, &#8220;the scooter-sharing business is entering a new era: survival of the fittest in a capital-intensive, money-losing industry,&#8221; as <a href="">pointed out</a> by Axios&#8217; Kia Kokalitcheva.

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Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist, Gustavo has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. He has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets and founded The Brazilian Report in 2017. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

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