Buenos Aires Sistema de Reconocimiento Facial de Prófugos 

The city of Buenos Aires' Fugitive Facial Recognition System or Sistema de Reconocimiento Facial de Prófugos (SNRP) is a system comprising approximately 300 cameras on public roads, subway and train stations intended to identify people wanted by the police. 

Introduced in April 2019, the SNRP was governed by a cooperation agreement between the Buenos Aires Ministry of Security and the Ministry of National Justice which allowed access to the National Consultation on Rebellions and Captures (Consulta Nacional de Rebeldías y Capturas) database of approximately 40,000 individuals wanted by the national authorities.  

In April 2022, Judge Andrés Gallardo discovered through a legal injunction that the City of Buenos Aires Government had also signed a side deal with Argentina's national ID database – the National Register of People or Registro Nacional de las Personas (RENAPER) that enabled authorities across the country to access data held by Buenos Aires city, and vice-versa. 

In total, the personal data of 9.9 million people, including the country's formers presidents Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Alberto Fernández, and numerous journalists and business people, was accessed between April 2019 and March 2022.

Media reports also revealed that Buenos Aires leaders had proposed making available to the national executive facial recognition cameras for identifying poverty demonstrators considered a potential threat to the government.

Operator: Government of the City of Buenos Aires; Buenos Aires City Police; Argentine Ministry of Justice and Security; ReNaPer
Developer: Danaide/NtechLab

Country: Argentina

Sector: Govt - municipal; Govt - police; Govt - security

Purpose: Identify criminals

Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy; Surveillance; Dual/multi-use; Scope creep/normalisation; Appropriateness/need

Transparency: Governance; Marketing; Privacy

Risks and harms 🛑

The SNRP system has been criticised for potential privacy violations, erroneous arrests due to system flaws, discrimination, and infringement of constitutional rights.

Transparency 🙈

An April 2022 appeal (pdf) by the Observatorio de Derecho Informático Argentino (ODIA) accused the SNRP of a lack of transparency concerning the personal data being collected and used.

In October 2020, the Buenos Aires authorities were accused by Human Rights Watch of storing the details of 'at least 166' children accused of committing crimes on Argentina's CONARC, the country's national database of inviduals with outstanding arrest warrants for serious crimes, between May 2017 and May 2020. 

HRW contended Buenos Aires' live facial recognition system is likely to amplify the risks of wrong identification of children due to the known inaccuracies of such systems when used on children.

Legal, regulatory 👩🏼‍⚖️

News, commentary, analysis 🗞️

Page info
Type: System
Published: December 2022
Last updated: May 2024