Opposition grows as Brazil advances single citizen database plans

A new bill aims to reverse the president's decision to centralize and share personal data across the public sector.

Opposition to a presidential decree that creates a unique database with information about all Brazilian citizens has crystalized as a bill has been introduced to reverse the decision.

The bill authored by congressman André Figueiredo outlined a series of concerns around the decision by president Jair Bolsonaro, which established the rules and guidelines for data sharing between authorities and public sector bodies and created a single personal data repository for Brazil's over 200 million citizens with information ranging from voice to gait.

"The centralization of personal data the government wants to put into practice can make such information very vulnerable and accidentally, or unlawfully, cause the destruction, loss, alteration, disclosure or even unauthorized access to such personal data," the congressman stated.

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It is now up to the board of Brazil's Chamber of Deputies to decide whether or not the bill - a draft legislative decree specifically aimed at reversing executive decisions, which would progress through the system in the same manner as normal proposals - will result in anything at all.

Sources close to the process believe the efforts will be fruitless, as such requests typically require consideration of multiple committees and legislative houses.

"The process could be accelerated with a request for urgency. But that would only happen with a lot of political weight," a source told ZDNet, adding that right now, there also seems to be no social pressure to halt the decision.

It is also possible that the concerns outlined in congressman Figueiredo's bill will only be considered after the board of the National Data Protection Authority (ANPD) is chosen and work actually begins. The five names leading the ANPD have yet to be announced by president Bolsonaro - it is understood that the group will include at least two representatives of the military.

Government plans to set up a single citizen database have been criticized for reasons including the fact that it is the type of decision where the ANPD should have input and participation, to ensure compliance with Brazil's data protection regulations, to be enforced in August 2020.