Bolsonaro family under investigation for political espionage in Brazil
In the early hours of Monday, January 29, two armored federal police cars were discreetly parked outside Jair Bolsonaro’s vacation home in Mambucaba, a seaside resort 150 kilometers from Rio Janeiro, where the far-right former president was staying with three of his sons. Surprised by the cameras of the Globo television channel, the agents carried out a series of searches targeting the youngest member of the family, Carlos Bolsonaro, a Rio de Janeiro city councilor. In addition to Mambucaba, police also searched his main home and his office at the municipal assembly. Two cell phones and a computer were seized.
The Supreme Federal Court suspects him of having been part of a clandestine spying network allegedly set up within the intelligence services (ABIN) under the presidential administration of Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022) to monitor hundreds of his political opponents using Israeli spy software FirstMile.
Acquired in 2017 under the government of Michel Temer (2016-2018), this digital tool enables people to be geolocated using their cell phone numbers by exploiting security loopholes in the telecommunications network. It would therefore have enabled intelligence services to bypass the judicial authorization required by law to monitor individuals using confidential data transmitted by telephone operators on their customers.
“The Bolsonaro clan’s defense is hardly credible,” said Rafael Zanatta, lawyer and director of the Data Privacy Brasil organization, which fights for the protection of private data. According to this expert, the discovery of FirstMile’s deployment is “just the tip of the iceberg” of a larger problem. Under Bolsonaro’s government, “numerous spyware programs were acquired by the intelligence services and the army, claimed Zanatta.
You can check out the full participation of the co-director of Data Privacy Brasil in the report written Anne-Dominique Correa on the Le Monde website. The text was originally published on 02/02/2024, access via the link.