17 mar 2023 8:41 am
According to media reports, the government under Jair Bolsonaro has significantly increased state spending on hacking and spy software. The Brazilian police are now investigating the use of a program to monitor up to 10,000 mobile phone users.
Brazil’s Interior Ministry has launched a preliminary investigation into a secret surveillance program under ex-President Jair Bolsonaro’s government. In a statement, prosecutor Peterson de Paula Pereira said it was an alleged illegal use of a system that allowed anyone’s location to be tracked using their cell phone number. The surveillance was carried out by the Brazilian news service ABIN.
The preliminary investigations were started after the newspaper O globo revealed that ABIN had used this software during the first three years of the right-wing head of state’s term of office, which made it possible to check the movements of up to 10,000 people a year without a log. However, the news service announced in a statement that the program was still being used under the government of Michel Temer. His assignment began on December 26, 2018 and ended on May 8, 2021. It was emphasized:
“The technical solution in question has not been used by ABIN since then. The service is currently in a process of improving and revising its internal regulations in accordance with the public interest and commitment to the democratic rule of law.”
The new ABIN leadership, meanwhile, requested a report on everyone who had been monitored using the software and recommended that the agents involved file for dismissal.
MP and then Director of Intelligence Alexandre Ramagem wrote on Twitter that there had been no irregularities in the use of the program. After taking office in 2019, the legality of all contracts was checked:
“For this instrument, we introduced specific fixes so that its administrators could use it properly, within the legal framework and in line with transparency and economy.”
For its part, the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva promised to investigate the case and punish those responsible. Minister of Justice and Public Security Flávio Dino confirmed on Wednesday:
“I will request that federal police open an investigation into this complaint against ABIN because we have received evidence of misuse of such equipment.”
Lula da Silva had previously ordered a reduction in the military’s role in ABIN, which had become much more important under Bolsonaro. In this sense, the left-wing politician continued his course of demilitarization of state authorities after numerous supporters of the former president rioted in the government district in Brasília on January 8th. Lula da Silva publicly expressed his distrust of ABIN and the Cabinet for Institutional Security (GSI). The former Director of the Federal Police, Luiz Fernando Correa, was appointed as the new ABIN boss.
more on the subject – Brazil’s President Lula da Silva dismisses 40 army personnel from his residence after riots
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