Brazil lashes out at U.S. spying
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 8:09 p.m.
UNITED NATIONS — Brazil's president delivered a stinging rebuke on Tuesday to the United States over its surveillance program, which has swept up data from billions of telephone calls and emails that have passed through Brazil — including her own.
President Dilma Rousseff called on the United Nations to create a framework of Internet regulation to halt the United States and other nations in the “new battlefield” of espionage.
Addressing the General Assembly at its annual meeting, she accused Washington of violating Brazil's sovereignty in what she called a “grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties.”
“In the absence of the respect for sovereignty, there is no basis for the relationship among nations,” Rousseff said. “Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable.”
She recently shelved a state trip to the United States over the National Security Agency program.
Brazil is an important hub for trans-Atlantic fiber-optic cables. The NSA, tasked with intercepting potential terror communications, reportedly hacked into state-run oil company Petrobras' computer network.
The Obama administration said its surveillance doesn't examine context of intercepted messages without evidence of suspicion. though reports in Brazilian media outlets based on leaked NSA documents indicated that Rousseff's own emails were read.
strategic corporate data, as well as messages by Brazilian diplomats, including to the United Nations, and from her own office.
She said Brazilian citizens' personal data “was intercepted indiscriminately.”
“The arguments that the illegal interception of information and data aims at protecting nations against terrorism cannot be sustained,” Rousseff said. Brazil “knows how to protect itself. We reject, fight and do not harbor terrorist groups,” she added.
Rousseff said she has demanded an apology from the United States and assurances that the electronic snooping will stop.
The Obama administration has said its surveillance program does not examine the context of the intercepted messages without evidence they are suspicious, though reports in Brazilian media outlets based on leaked NSA documents indicated that Rousseff's own emails were read.
The Brazilian government recently announced it was making a strong push to protect itself from NSA spying by walling itself off from the U.S.-centric Internet. Some measures include laying fiber optic cables directly to Europe and neighboring South American nations, building new Internet exchanges in Brazil to route traffic away from the U.S., and creating a government-run and encrypted email system.
Many experts question how effective such measures might be, noting that the capabilities of the NSA could likely still carry out its spying regardless of those safeguards. Legal experts argue that instead of trying to beat the NSA in a technology “arms race,” strong international privacy laws should be enacted in an effort to halt the U.S. spying.
Rousseff called on the U.N. to lead a multilateral effort to create a framework on how governments use the Internet so that it's done in a fashion that “guarantees freedom of expression, security and respect for human rights.”
“Information and telecommunication technologies cannot be the new battlefield between states,” Rousseff said at the U.N. “Now is the time for us to create the conditions to prevent cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war through espionage, sabotage and attacks against the systems and infrastructure of other nations.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 284 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster
- Missing plane’s black box batteries feared to have died
- Iranian court spares life of former Marine
- Iran blasts ambassador visa denial