The air is electric in Rio right now, and not just because of the surveillance cameras scattered all around the city
Rio’s hundreds of surveillance cameras are easy to view on the 85 square meter display in the panopticon-style Center for Integrated Command and Control or the equally huge screen in the Operations Center of Rio.
If you glance at these camera streams at the right time, you’ll see a jeep or two full of military police officers with machine guns, the barrels sticking out of the windows as they cruise by.
You might see police arrest demonstrators protesting what many are calling a coup against Pres. Dilma Rousseff. Or, you might catch the military or policekilling black youth in a favela, or storming one of the dozens of secondary schools currently occupied by student activists who want improvements to Brazil’s underfunded educational system.
This is the host of the rapidly approaching 2016 Summer Olympics. Brazilians don’t seem very excited about it — understandable given the current political situation and the Games’ cost.
Lawmakers have used Brazil’s recent series of mega-events to justify huge investments in security technology. But the tools the police and military now possess aren’t temporary. They are lasting legacies. And the combination of this technology, a new hawkish government, and ongoing human rights abuses by the military and law enforcement in Brazil spells disaster.
The CICC is an intelligence center cooperatively run by various Brazilian agencies, including the police and military, and it can access streams from at least 3200 mobile and stationary surveillance cameras. COR, a city-run center, provides data to police from 560 cameras. Despite these all-seeing eyes and the millions invested in security by state and federal governments in Brazil, security concerns for the Olympics persist.
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