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Intelligence Technology

Brazil Doubles Down on Cyber Security

Brazilian flag. Image: bea_marques/Pixabay.

This article was originally published by OpenDemocracy on 20 November, 2014.

Brazil has embraced the digital age with more gusto than most countries. It is one of the top users of social media and recently signed-off on a bill of rights for the Internet, the marco civil. The country is also a leader in the development of online banking with more than 43% of web users engaging such services, and can be proud of a thriving software industry, including some world beating companies.

But as computer users around the world are beginning to grasp, the spread of the digital world has its downsides. Alongside all the great things the Internet offers, not least new forms of political and economic empowerment, it brings some very serious threats.

Categories
International Relations Business and Finance Economy

The BRICs Party is Over

Market watching. Image by Rafael Matsunaga / Flickr.

After a decade of infatuation, investors have suddenly turned their backs on emerging markets. In the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – growth rates have quickly fallen and current-account balances have deteriorated.[1] The surprise is not that the romance is over but that it could have lasted for so long.

From 2000 to 2008 the world went through one of the greatest commodity and credit booms of all times. Goldman Sachs preached that the BRICs were unstoppable (e.g. Wilson and Purushothaman 2003).

However, Genesis warns that after seven years of plenty, “seven years of famine will come and the famine will ravage the land”. Genesis appears to have described the combined commodity and credit cycle, from which the Brazil, Russia, India and China have benefited more than their due.

Categories
Social Media Government

Brazil’s Wired Protests

Image by Alexander Hugo Tártari / Flickr.

The mass demonstrations that convulsed Brazil in June and July 2013 are more than a raw display of people power; they confirm that we are living in a new era of digitally enhanced protest.

The storyline is by now well rehearsed. What started out as a modest protest by the little-known Movimento Passe Livre (Free Fare Movement)–a group calling for free public transport over the past decade–went viral. Only a few thousand members initially turned up in São Paulo to reject the equivalent of a $0.09 hike on bus fares and corrupt tendering processes for the issuance of transportation licenses.

When their protest was brutally put down by the military police, over a million people from more than 350 cities in Brazil and around the world took to the streets to march against all manner of grievances. The rapid spread of these demonstrations is the ultimate expression of open empowerment–the emboldening of millions of wired young people worldwide to press for change.

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Government Security Conflict

São Paulo: Insecure Citizens, All of Them

Primeiro Comando da Capital 15 33
Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) is a non-state armed group in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Marco Gomes/flickr.

In recent years, São Paulo, Brazil has like many other Latin American cities, been held up as a model of public security for other cities in the global South. Dramatic declines in homicides by more than 80% in some urban districts, has created a sense that the city is safer than ever. By extension, many have supposed and some explicitly argued that heightened public security policies are the reason for such declines.

A recent spate of hundreds of homicides, killings by the police force (known until recently as resistencias seguida de morte), and assassinations of police officers, tells a much different story. This violence lays bare the sub-structure of homicide regulation in the city. Since the early 2000’s, São Paulo’s decline in homicides has been intimately intertwined with the increasing influence of a non-state armed group known as the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC). The PCC, which controls many of the historically violent parts of the city, has its own regulation of death. This underscores the breakdown of the monopoly on violence in the city and exposes the relative impossibility of public policy advancement. More importantly, though, this new wave of violence reveals the degree of insecurity in this city where those most responsible for delivering public security policy – the police – are not secure.

Categories
Migration

Will Brazil Stem New Tide of Immigration?

Brazilian visa
Brazilian visa. Photo: TheTransparentEyeball/flickr.

The global financial crisis, wars and natural disasters have inspired a new wave of immigration to Brazil. According to the Ministry of Justice, the number of legal immigrants entering Brazil rose by 50% over a six month period [pt] in 2012. The majority of immigrants came from Haiti, Bolivia, Spain, France and the United States.

The new arrivals have not gone unnoticed by mainstream media or the general public. Recently, the popular TV show Domingo Espetacular broadcast a report [pt] called “Perseguidos” (‘Hunted’) which tells their story. Brazilian blogger Pedro Migao [pt] praised the report for describing the many different reasons why immigrants are increasingly turning to Brazil.