Vivo sued to stop using customers’ location in ads – Brazil

THE Live is being sued by the MPDFT (Public Ministry of the Federal District and Territories) to stop selling geolocated media ads through the Vivo Ads platform. This product is described as a “scandal” by a representative of Cambridge Analytica, a company involved in the Facebook privacy crisis. He may also have helped with fraud during the 2018 elections.

Vivo Ads

The MPDFT, through Espec (Special Unit for the Protection of Personal Data and Artificial Intelligence), opened on Tuesday (30) a public civil action against Telefônica Brasil, in which it asks the Justice to suspend the product Geolocalized Media of Vivo Ads.

Last year, during a Cambridge Analytica data leak investigation, the MPDFT discovered emails that mentioned the Vivo Ads platform “as a means of helping with the fraud scheme during the 2018 Brazilian elections, especially with regard to the geolocation of its customers ”.

In addition, the agency added to the file the testimony on video from a representative of Cambridge Analytica, who knew this Vivo product closely and considered it a “scandal”. His name is under wraps.

Vivo Ads monitors 26 million customers

Vivo Ads describes itself as “the largest digital media platform in Brazil” on its official website. The platform offers video ads, programmatic media, app recommendations and advertisements via geolocation.

This means that, if you are a Vivo customer, you may receive an SMS when passing through places chosen by the advertiser. The company defines a “virtual fence” (geofencing) to trigger the message, either when the user enters the site, leaves it, or remains there for a certain period of time.

Vivo Ads

“This technology allows the user to be engaged according to their position in real time on Vivo’s network”, explains the official website. “All information is anonymized, clustered and obtained with user authorization.” Customers can receive SMS only with text or in conjunction with image, audio or video.

The Public Ministry argues that Vivo ends up winning in two ways, treating people as customers and also as a product: after all, they pay a monthly bill or buy prepaid credits, and can receive targeted ads depending on where they are.

Vivo does not clearly ask for consent, says MPDFT

Vivo says that it uses the data only “after free, express, unconditional and informed consent from its holders”. This includes the registration information – name, address, age, gender, profession – of 43 million customers; and the geolocation of 26 million people.

In the postpaid subscription contract, the customer can check the option that says: “Do you want to receive offers and benefits from Vivo and partners that are appropriate to your profile on your cell phone? For this we need to use your personal data and location and use of the network, which will be safe in our database ”. In prepaid, this is asked during the activation of the chip.

However, for the MPDFT, this is not clear enough: “consenting that your data is used for advertising purposes is not the same as consenting that your data is used as a product for commercial purposes, nor that your location is monitored 24 hours a day. per day”.

The agency claims that the geolocation of Vivo Ads causes “damage to the rights of intimacy and privacy of the holders of personal data”. For this reason, the lawsuit asks that the Geolocated Media product be suspended.

In a note to the Tecnoblog, Vivo says that “it has not yet been mentioned in the lawsuit and reiterates that it complies with the current legislation”.

With information: MPDFT.

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