The Federal Police (PF) is investigating the possible use of spying software by agents of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin). According to news sources, the tool was allegedly used illegally by Abin agents during the government of former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) to track and monitor cell phone geolocation data, mainly of people opposed to the government.

Spy Software: FirstMile

The FirstMile software, produced by the Israeli company Cognyte, is at the heart of the PF’s Last Mile operation. On Friday (20/10), the operation arrested two officers and removed five Abin leaders.

The FirstMile software would have the capacity to monitor the geolocation of up to 10,000 cell phones for a period of one year. Apparently, the tool does not have access to messages or calls from tracked targets, only geolocation data.

People Spied on

According to the PF, servers used FirstMile to monitor members of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), journalists, lawyers and politicians during the government of former president Jair Bolsonaro. Some of the individuals spied on were:

  • Hugo Ferreira Netto Loss, then coordinator of Inspection Operations at Ibama, an environmental agency, who was dismissed from his position in April 2020, after leading operations against illegal miners and loggers in the Amazon
  • Former deputy Jean Wyllys, and a critic of Bolsonaro
  • Journalist Glenn Greenwald and his husband, Federal Deputy David Miranda (PDT) for the of Rio de Janeiro, who died last May
  • Supreme Court Minister (STF) Alexandre de Moares

The software was intensively used during the first three years of the Bolsonaro government, under the management of former director Alexandre Ramagem, who is now a federal deputy for the Rio de Janeiro PL.

Criminal Use

This monitoring would be illegal, according to the police, as the agents spying with the software would essentially need judicial authorization to carry it out.

Those now under investigation may be liable for various crimes, such as hacking into someone else’s computer device, criminal organization and interception of telephone, IT or telematics communications without judicial authorization or for purposes not authorized by law.

Use Against Crime and Against the Population

Geolocation data, which was tracked by FirstMile can be used in different ways, such as in police investigations against organized crime, but it can also be an attraction to illegally monitor political opponents and the population itself, attacking the right to civil liberties, such as demonstration.

Deleted Data

A total of 33,000 monitoring were carried out by Abin agents; however, PF investigators were only able to locate the details of 1,800. Details of the other 31,200 monitoring known to have been carried out have been deleted.

Contracts with State Governments

At least nine public security departments in Brazil have signed contracts in the last five years with the company Cognyte. The values reach R$ 65.7 million in contracts, most of them made without bidding, such as the states of Goiás, Espirito Santo, Mato Grosso and São Paulo.

The contracts signed with state governments aimed to purchase equipment for identification, tracking, monitoring and telematic and telephone interception, as well as cell phone signal blocking, information technology solutions and provision of technical support and maintenance of the search platform of data in open sources. Services are considered legal if they are used with judicial authorization.


On Friday (20), the Federal Police carried out an operation that found out evidence that the Army, in addition to the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin), had hired the Israeli First Mile software, intended for monitoring opponents of the Jair Bolsonaro government. The evidence was obtained during a search and seizure at Cognyte’s headquarters, in Florianópolis (SC)

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