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Brazil: Use of Face Recognition Technology to Identify International Travelers at Airports

(Aug. 3, 2016) On August 1, 2016, the Brazilian Internal Revenue Service (Secretaria da Receita Federal, SRF) started to use a facial recognition system to identify international travelers arriving at airports in the country.  The goal is to expedite customs service procedures by the prior identification and selection for further inspection of passengers who present a potential risk of customs irregularities, without interfering in the flow of other passengers.  (Sabrina Craide, Receita Começa a Utilizar Sistema de Reconhecimento Facial em Aeroportos, AGÊNCIA BRASIL (Aug. 1, 2016).)

According to the SRF, the system combines facial biometric recognition technology with an advanced system of customs risk management for the purpose of optimizing the SRF’s work process, and consequently bringing greater safety to Brazilian society, by protecting against unfair competition, smuggling, embezzlement, and international drug trafficking, among other crimes. (Id.)  The system cross references in advance the passenger data from information sent by airlines with the data contained in the database of the SRF, which includes information such as individuals’ tax returns, occupations, and travel frequency.  (Id.)