A few weeks ago, the Brazilian government started a diplomatic firestorm by cancelling an upcoming state visit of President Dilma Rousseff to the United States -- the only such visit on President Obama's agenda for 2013 -- over the NSA spying scandal. At the same time, Rio opened its new Integrated Command and Control Center, or Centro Integrado de Comando e Controle (CICC) with the latest surveillance technology.
Indeed, according to the Security Industry Association (SIA), Brazil is the biggest market in Latin America for surveillance systems and equipment. The SIA expects Brazil's investments to comprise up to 45% of the total market by 2014.
One may see a contradiction in Rousseff's cancellation and the opening of the CICC. The main difference is that the CICC will not be monitoring the personal communications of Rio's residents, but just watching the street activity closely.
The CICC, equipped with an initial set of 560 CCTV cameras citywide, is designed to monitor a large portion of Rio de Janeiro. The camera feeds are displayed in an 80-square-meter (860-square-foot) video wall.
IBM, which since 2010 has been selling Smart Cities solutions like this to cities and government agencies worldwide, including those hosting World Cup matches, designed and installed all systems over four floors of the CCIC building. The center is staffed by 670 people in 24/7 shifts who are keeping an eye on all roads, highways and public areas of the city.