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New Drone Surveillance Law a Possibility in Brazil

New Drone Surveillance Law a Possibility in Brazil

2016 will be a banner year for Brazil. With the Olympics scheduled for August in Rio de Janeiro, tourism could reach a new high. So to help keep people safe, Brazil is considering new, advanced safety measures – drone surveillance.

Brazilian authorities have expressed interest in using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to watch over the crowds at the Olympic Games. Yet administrators need to find a balance between keeping spectators safe and respecting their privacy rights. Currently, Brazilian law requires those who wish to use drones to watch civilians to obtain permission from the Air Force’s Department of Air Space Control (DECEA) at least 15 days before use.

Any new legislation before the Olympics, however, would tighten the restrictions on drone surveillance. In fact, if a new law passes, it could be illegal to use drones as a surveillance method over unsuspecting civilians. In that case, civilians would have to give consent before a drone could watch them.

As technology advances, questions arise regarding how to use drone technology in an ethical way. Is it appropriate to watch someone from above if the goal is to promote public safety? Or does the very act of watching someone who does not realize he is being watched constitute a privacy violation?

According to the Brazilian Federal Constitution, the right to privacy is a fundamental right for all men and women But does the individual right to privacy supersede the government’s responsibility to keep citizens safe?

It’s an interesting question and one without an easy answer. Citizens all over the world have gotten used to the idea of giving up certain rights in the name of safety. Yet we must still ask ourselves where we should draw the line.

Whether there will be greater restrictions on drone use in Brazil before the Olympic Games remains unclear. Either way, it brings to light a thoughtful dilemma, one that will likely not be resolved anytime soon.