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Brazil’s LGPD is ahead of European legislation, says executive

Fernanda Lara, I’Max CEO, says that the new General Data Protection Law will decrease actions to spread “fake news”

The LGPD (General Data Protection Law), which should come into force in Brazil in August of this year, establishes rules on the collection, storage, treatment, and sharing of personal data.  The new law aims to ensure greater privacy and control over the use of data, preventing misuse by companies and third parties.

For the executive Fernanda Lara, CEO of I’Max – a technological solutions company for the communication market – Brazil is more evolved than countries that are a reference of the economic model when it comes to LGPD. “We are impressed by the GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation, European data legislation], but, in my opinion, the LGPD is broader and more logical. But Europe is effectively applying the law, something I think will be different in Brazil. In other words, we have fantastic legislation, but we don’t know how to enforce it,” she says.

In Lara’s opinion, the biggest advantage for the user will be security. “The vast majority of electronic financial fraud occurs because hackers obtained our credit cards by breaking into poorly protected databases. Dealing with this issue will bring a short-term impact. In the medium and long term, we can see a fall in pro-fake news actions and a good decrease in ‘machines’ that unfairly propel prejudiced ideologies and actions, taking away from us the most basic civil rights.” 

Fernanda Lara has been CEO of I’Max since 2019 when the merger between Maxpress – a company with more than 20 years in the market – and I’M Press — a company that Lara founded when she had just graduated — occurred. Born in Brasília, she holds a degree in Journalism from UnB.

How was your academic and professional trajectory, until you became CEO of I’Max?

Fernanda Lara: Communication was chosen by elimination as a profession that would provide me with versatility. After studying Communication at UnB, I went to Grenoble, France, to do a year of graduation. That’s when I had my first contacts with entrepreneurship and startups. Grenoble is like a “mini Palo Alto” in the middle of Europe: students talk about new businesses within the university environment, there is one of the largest polytechnic centers in Europe, and also a respected graduate course in Marketing.

While I saw my French colleagues creating new things, I felt anguish because I didn’t want to go back to Brazil to do “more of the same”. One of my ideas worked: it was I’M Press. I was 24 years old when I founded it.

What do you think will be the main difficulty for companies to fit into the LGPD?

FL: I understand that we are talking about LGPD with a focus on data protection, always placing the individual at the center of the debate, as it should be. I think it is important to undo this stigma of a company prepared or “not prepared” for the LGPD. It is not a binary issue. A company has dozens of different departments, and each of these departments has a set of activities that touch the LGPD and need tailored treatment. Therefore, the most important thing is to make a plan that understands that a policy will not solve all the company’s issues, and will evolve with the LGPD theme department by department. Thus, I believe that the greatest difficulty is not respecting the specificities of each sector of the company. Note that LGPD does not want to cast, but to standardize the access and treatment of data.

Do you believe that, with rules more similar to the international market, more business can be generated for Brazilian companies?

FL: In my personal experience, in terms of LGPD, Brazil is even more evolved than many countries that are economic model references. Of course, we are impressed with GPDR, but, in my opinion, LGPD is broader and logical. But Europe is applying the law, and the application of the law is the gap that will be lacking in Brazil, I think. In other words, we have fantastic legislation, but we don’t know how to enforce it. 

But back to your question, there is no doubt that international confidence increases when the big players know that Brazilian companies need to follow rules of transparency and, in this case, I quote not only the LGPD but also the Transparency Law. 

What will be the greatest gain for end-users with the new law?

FL: The greatest gain will be safety. The vast majority of electronic financial fraud occurs when hackers get our credit cards by breaking into poorly protected databases. That will be a short-term impact. In the medium and long term, we can see a fall in pro-fake news actions and a good brake on machines that unfairly propel biased ideologies and actions, taking away from us the most basic civil rights.  

Fernanda Lara