The Minister of Science, Technology and Communications, Marcos Pontes, informed on Monday (13) in a social network that, at the request of President Jair Bolsonaro, the federal government decided to postpone the use of cell phone data to monitor the displacement of people amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
Since recognizing the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended, among other measures, social isolation. Some states, such as São Paulo, have used this data from cell phones to monitor compliance with determination.
According to Marcos Pontes, Bolsonaro asked him for "prudence" in monitoring and, because of this request, the measure will be postponed until the government finally approves the issue.
"After evaluating the team and based on the international precedent, I recorded a video about the tool to be implemented. (…) One day later, Saturday, the president called me and asked for caution with this initiative and that the tool should only be used after extra analysis by the government, so I determined that the video and other posts should be removed from social networks until the end of the extra analysis and final government approval ", published Marcos Pontes.
Marcos Pontes pointed out that the tool is still under analysis and that it will be used "only if analyzes guarantee the efficiency and protection of Brazilians' privacy."
In response to some comments made in the post, the minister said that personal data will not be analyzed and that the system points to agglomeration by heat map.
At the beginning of the month, Sinditelebrasil, which represents the main telephone operators in Brazil, reported that the companies that offered the government data to monitor customer movements.
The data could help, for example, in identifying situations of risk of contamination by the new coronavirus.
What is made available, said the union, is the mobility data originated by cell phones connected to their networks and organized anonymously.
Cellular data is already used, for example, by the São Paulo government to monitor the population's adherence to social isolation measures.
On this point, the minister stated that the states have autonomy and that they can have direct agreements with the operators. "The Federal Government has no control or participation in these agreements".