Sao Paulo METRO advertising facial recognition abuse

Occurred: May 2018

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Via Quatro, the operator of São Paulo Metro’s Yellow Line, has installed platform doors that display ads and information and use sensors with screens and facial and emotion recognition to monitor the reaction of viewers. 

The move resulted in human and privacy rights advocates to voice concerns about the inaccuracy of facial biometric systems, the potential for racial and ethnic bias, and of pseudoscience.

The lack of information provided about the system, and lack of user consent, prompted Brazilian consumer rights organisation  Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor (Idec) to file (pdf - in Portuguese) a legal challenge against Via Quatro. 

In May 2021, the Court of Justice of São Paulo ordered Via Quatro to terminate (pdf, in Portuguese) its 'abusive' use of facial recognition technology and data collection.

In March 2022, São Paulo court judge Cynthia Thome ordered the company responsible for running Sao Paulo's metro system Companhia do Metropolitano de São Paulo (METRO), to suspend its use of facial recognition as part of the broader  implementation of the SecurOS electronic surveillance system.

Operator: ViaQuatro; Companhia do Metropolitano de São Paulo (METRO)
Developer: AdMobilize
Country: Brazil
Sector: Govt - transport
Purpose: Identify consumer identity
Technology: Facial recognition; Emotion recognition
Issue: Privacy; Accuracy/reliability
Transparency: Governance; Privacy; Marketing; Legal


Legal, regulatory

Research, advocacy

News, commentary, analysis

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: March 2022