Brazilian football fan wrongly arrested by police using facial recognition

Occurred: April 2024

Police using facial recognition to identify football fans in Brazil with open arrest warrants wrongly arrested a Confiança fan, triggering a backlash on social media and a police apology. 

Personal trainer João Antônio and his 16-year-old younger brother had been watching a football match between Confiança and Sergipe when the former was handcuffed and taken to a room to prove his identity on the basis that the facial recognition system used by the police indicated that he had an open arrest warrant. He was subsequently released. 

The incident was described by the boys as embarrasing and humiliating, and sparked accusations from civil rights and privacy advocates of 'structural' human and algorithmic racism. 

Local police apologised, saying a suspect is only approached when alerted of a 90 percent potential match by their facial recognition system. 

System 🤖

Country: Brazil
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Verify identity
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Human/civil rights
Transparency: Governance