IGF 2023 Lightning Talk #94 The technopolitics of face recognition technology

Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (01:40 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (02:40 UTC)
SC – Room H

Human Rights & Freedoms
Non-discrimination in the Digital Space

Latin American Network of Surveillance, Technology and Society Studies - LAVITS
Rodrigo José Firmino, LAVITS and JararacaLab, Brazil, Latin America. Júlia Faustina Abad, LAVITS and JararacaLab, Brazil, Latin America. Fernanda Glória Bruno, LAVITS and MediaLab.UFRJ, Brazil, Latin America. Débora Pio, LAVITS and MediaLab.UFRJ, Brazil, Latin America.


Fernanda Glória Bruno, LAVITS and MediaLab.UFRJ, Brazil, Latin America, and Rodrigo José Firmino, LAVITS and JararacaLab, Brazil, Latin America.

Onsite Moderator

Rodrigo José Firmino

Online Moderator

Débora Pio


Júlia Faustina Abad


10. Reduced Inequalities
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Targets: Based on public security relations within the scope of urban planning and local governance, the use of surveillance technologies has become a mechanism for repressive control of violence and crime in public and private spaces. The use of video surveillance with face recognition technology enables the location, identification and social classification of individuals, in a constant, systematic and indiscriminate way, and, consequently, makes public spaces hostile environments, violating fundamental rights — which demnstrated the strong links of this proposal with the SGD 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. In this sense, what was shown as a possibility of surveillance for the reduction of urban violence, became a mechanism of violation of rights inherent to the subjects, such as equality and non-discrimination, to the extent that these technologies accompany the segregating and racist realities of the criminal system, making the public environments of local meetings and protests subject to criminalization for the general population. According to a recent study by the Security Observatory Network (2019), 90.5% of people arrested with the use of face recognition in Brazil are black. This reflects the so-called algorithmic racism of these technologies, mainly due to the inaccuracy of the systems and data bases that constitute them. The use of face recognition has been shown to be another mechanism of oppression and mass incarceration of the black, poor and peripheral population — which connects the themes of this session to the SGD 10, Reduced Inequalities.


The session will consist of an introduction of participants (5 minutes), a short presentation (10 minutes) of an advocacy project towards the ban of face recognition technologies in public spaces in Brazil, followed by a round of questions and comments (15 minutes).

Duration (minutes)



The use of face recognition as a preventive and repressive crime control mechanism meets demands for security fueled by fear of urban violence. However, the use of this technology leads to increased vigilantism in public spaces, based on a discriminatory algorithmic bias, and can create hostile spaces, which further implies in the violation of fundamental rights. This session, titled “technopolitics of face recognition technologies” aims to present and discuss a political incidence project based on a champaign to ban the use of face recognition technologies in public spaces, by governmental institutions in Brazilian cities. It constitutes one of the possible strategies of resistance against the use of this technology within the scope of an oppressive urban security system, in the search for the preservation of a free and democratic public space and for the creation of new narratives about mass surveillance in public administration and urban planning. With this, we seek to question the nuances of the so-called right to the city, mainly on the part of stigmatized and minorized populations, such as residents of peripheral areas, black people, women and transgender people. More information about this theme, and this political advocacy project can be found in the following links (in Portuguese): https://medium.com/jararaca/smart-sampa-e-o-reconhecimento-racial-4a54e… https://lavits.org/miniguia-reconhecimento-facial-e-quando-a-maquina-er… https://lavits.org/tjsp-mantem-proibicao-de-coleta-de-dados-pela-via-qu… https://lavits.org/parlamentares-de-todas-as-regioes-do-brasil-apresent… https://lavits.org/iniciativas-que-apoiam-o-banimento-do-reconhecimento… https://www.semcameranaminhacara.meurecife.org.br https://jararacalab.org/pl_banimento-rf/ https://jararacalab.org/tire-meu-rosto-da-sua-mira/ https://jararacalab.org/espacos-publicos-e-reconhecimento-facial/

According to the programme and following IGF Secretariat instructions, Lightning Talks will not have online participation. There will be no live broadcast or recording of these type of sessions.