Notes about Vehicle Monitoring in Brazil and Europe from a Data Protection Perspective

Notes about Vehicle Monitoring in Brazil and Europe from a Data Protection Perspective

Danilo Doneda (Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brazil) and Mario Cunha (European University Institute, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-051-8.ch018
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The Brazilian National Traffic Council, in a Resolution adopted in 2006, stated that every vehicle to be sold in the country should have an RFId chip. The nature of the whole project, named SINIAV, is to assemble an infrastructure all over public roads and streets capable of recognizing and identifying vehicles. A surveillance system such as SINIAV, presented as a cutting-edge system capable of bringing security to Brazilian’s streets by reducing car’s theft, has a crucial (and political) aspect which addresses the level of security that should be developed in the IT system for the use of such database, especially in a country which does not have a specific data protection legislation. The regulation of databases of personal information is an unavoidable step to be done, as the real danger to personal liberties in an automatic surveillance system, such as this one, is not based in personal surveillance, but is related to the use of this personal data. It is not by chance that the European Union is currently discussing a new Action Plan for the Deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems in Europe. Taking into account this scenario, the current chapter analyses the SINIAV regulation from a data protection perspective.
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Background: The Siniav Project

In 2006 the Brazilian National Traffic Council adopted a regulation (CONTRAN Resolution 212/2006)7 requiring that every licensed Brazilian vehicle shall have an RFId chip and that all the major highways and urban areas will be covered by an extensive array of RFId sensors. In order to make use of these chips, this regulation also creates a nationwide automated system for identifying vehicles (SINIAV), which includes a centralized database of every monitored vehicle’s wanderings.

Such a regulation is not unique in the sense that it is part of a group of regulatory initiatives which, in the recent past, made Brazil one of the most willing countries to make use of the technological measures available to control its population and to provide as much as possible data for administrative purposes. The measure, however, does not seem to consider a series of probable pitfalls related to privacy and data protection issues.

Organizing a rather large population in one of the largest countries in the world has always been one of the main challenges of the Brazilian public administration. To make goods and services, either public or private, arrive in Brazil's most inner locations is a rather usual problem and a fact of life for many people living in most remote areas. That has also probably been a cause for the concentration of both population and capital in southeastern Brazil.

So, with the 'arrival' of technologies capable to keep track of the actions and whereabouts of people, the enforcement of those technologies started to be seen by many policy-makers as the next logical step. Thus, several projects in this sense are already being implemented, such as the biometrical authentication of voters by the electronic voting machine in all Brazilian's elections; the unique ID for civil identification that comes with an all-new plastic-made and chip-powered ID card and a central database, according to the RIC project8; as well as the SINIAV project.

As pointed out by David Lyon:

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