Brazil upset by report of NSA spying
PARATY, Brazil — Brazil's foreign minister said on Sunday his government is worried by a report that the United States has collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations in his country and promised an effort for international protection of Internet privacy.
The O Globo newspaper reported over the weekend that information released by NSA leaker Edward Snowden shows that the number of telephone and email messages logged by the National Security Agency in January alone was not far behind the 2.3 billion reportedly collected in the United States.
Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota, speaking from the colonial city of Paraty where he was attending Brazil's top literary festival, expressed “deep concern at the report that electronic and telephone communications of Brazilian citizens are being the object of espionage by organs of American intelligence.”
“The Brazilian government has asked for clarifications” through the U.S. Embassy in Brazil and Brazil's embassy in Washington, he said.
Patriota also said Brazil will ask the United Nations for measures “to impede abuses and protect the privacy” of Internet users, laying down rules for governments “to guarantee cybernetic security that protects the rights of citizens and preserves the sovereignty of all countries.”
The spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Brazil's capital, Dean Chaves, said diplomats there would not have any comment.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement saying, “The U.S. government will respond through diplomatic channels to our partners and allies in the Americas. ... While we are not going to comment publicly on specific alleged intelligence activities, as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.”
Patriota's reaction in Brazil extended diplomatic turbulence the United States has faced from friends and foes around the world since Snowden began releasing details of the surveillance.