The National Association for Human Rights (ANDHEP) is mapping private surveillance in Brazil. ANDHEP’s privacy project aims to analyse surveillance techniques developed by private Internet companies in Brazil, having as normative criteria the principles of the constitutionally protected rights to privacy and transparency of social and political powers. Internet access in Brazil is increasing—around 40% of households have private access—and proportionally more social networks users than in the U.S. and as access increases, so too has the number of legal cases and lawsuits related to privacy violations by Internet companies.
We want to test the hypothesis of a tendency to “marketise” privacy through authorised or unauthorised use of personal information as profitable assets, especially for advertisement purposes. In order to do so, we will examine the privacy policies of Google and Facebook in light of national and international privacy protection standards. We will also analyse lawsuits by Brazilian users against these companies, and interview employees and directors of their offices in Brazil. Our analysis will focus on three aspects of Internet privacy and their policies on Google and Facebook: 1) the present conditions of privacy on the Web and the nature of the privacy policies; 2) tensions between privacy and freedom of commercial information, as well as between privacy and the transparency of the privacy policies; and 3) the comprehensibility and the visibility of these policies, and the efforts of companies to explain to the users how their information is used. The project will have the duration of six months (February 2014 – August 2014), and will cover a five year period (2010-2014). At the end of the project, we will launch a report that evaluates if these policies abide by national and international standards of privacy protection, along with analyses of the present conditions of online privacy and private surveillance practices in Brazil. At the end of the project we will also organise a seminar to disseminate the online report and results.