SECURITY: BRAZIL: São Paulo Police has been Secretly Monitoring Protesters

Military Police has been secretly authorized to film demonstrators and store information. Photo (c) plus55 2017Military Police has been secretly authorized to film demonstrators and store information. Photo (c) plus55 2017

(Cross-posted from plus 55) – A report from website Ponte Jornalismo revealed that the Military Police of São Paulo have been monitoring individuals who participate in protests.

Policemen have the authorization to videotape the demonstrations.

This can occur during political acts, but also during events such as religious gatherings and the Pride Parade.

The Public Has No Access to this Information.

Photo (c) Aratu Online Brasil 2015

Governor Geraldo Alckmin has been working to keep it secret. The State Court has decided twice in favor of keeping the directive from the public. Photo (c) Aratu Online Brasil 2015

The Eagle Eye Directive, a piece of legislation created in 2011, authorizes this kind of procedure.

Ponte informs that Governor Geraldo Alckmin has been working to keep it secret. The State Court has decided twice in favor of keeping the directive from the public.

According to the documents published by Ponte, the Eagle Eye Directive “allows the capture, transmission, recording, and managing of images and audio of public concern.” However, “public concern” is a broad term.

Police May Film Even When There’s No Crime

Photo (c) El Comercio 2017

The police system can store information about any member of the public – regardless of his or her criminal activity. Photo (c) El Comercio 2017

There are three ways of generating the material. They include portable equipment, such as video cameras and microphones used by officers; aerial kits embedded in helicopters; and equipment in police cars. All three methods are capable of broadcasting in real time.

The revelation of the Eagle Eye Directive raises major privacy concerns. The Military Police may use the system even when there is no crime. Therefore, the police system can store information about any member of the public – regardless of his or her criminal activity.

Transparency Not Priority for São Paulo Government

Photo (c) El Mundo 2015

“There is no state more transparent than São Paulo,” Alckmin told the daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. On the other hand… Photo (c) El Mundo 2015

In October, the Secretary for Public Safety declared that all files of investigations regarding police violence would be labeled “secret” for up to 15 years. A heavy backlash followed from both the press and the public, and Governor Geraldo Alckmin backed down. He banned the automatic assignment of a “secret” label. Furthermore, he said that a document’s security level will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis.

He also denied a connection between the decision to not disclose documents concerning police abuse and the improved numbers for violent crimes in January 2016. “There is no state more transparent than São Paulo,” Alckmin told the daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. On the other hand, some counter argue that he must have forgotten that his administration not only treats data on violence with secrecy, but also any documents related to the city’s metro and sewage systems.