White House soothes Brazil over NSA

Julian Hattem – The Hill, 1/30/2014

The Obama administration is making an effort to quell foreign concerns about spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence arms.

On Thursday, National Security Adviser Susan Rice met with Brazil’s foreign minister, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, to update him on President Obama’s plans to rein in the spy agency.

Rice “outlined the results of the review of U.S. signals intelligence activities, and the reforms to be implemented,” the White House said in a statement.

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Brazil will not grant Snowden asylum

Reuters, 12/18/2013

Brazil has no plans to grant asylum to Edward Snowden even after the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor offered on Tuesday to help investigate revelations of spying on Brazilians and their president, a local newspaper reported.

The Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, citing unnamed government officials, said the Brazilian government has no interest in investigating the mass Internet surveillance programs Snowden revealed in June and does not intend to give him asylum.

In an “Open Letter to the Brazilian People” published by Folha and social media, Snowden offered to help a congressional probe into NSA spying on the country, including the personal communications of President Dilma Rousseff.

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Edward Snowden offers to help Brazil over US spying in return for asylum

Paulo Owen – The Guardian, 12/17/2013

Edward Snowden has offered to help Brazil investigate US spying on its soil in exchange for political asylum, in an open letter from the NSA whistleblower to the Brazilian people published by the Folha de S Paulo newspaper.

“I’ve expressed my willingness to assist where it’s appropriate and legal, but, unfortunately, the US government has been working hard to limit my ability to do so,” Snowden said in the letter.

“Until a country grants me permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak out,” he said.

Snowden – currently living in Russia, where he has been granted a year’s asylum until next summer – said he had been impressed by the Brazilian government’s strong criticism of the NSA spy programme targeting internet and telecommunications worldwide, including monitoring the mobile phone of the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff.

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Brazil, Argentina push for join cyber shield for South America

Shobhan Saxena – The Hindu, 11/24/2013

Alarmed by large-scale spying on their state-owned oil and mining firms and monitoring of personal communication of their top leaders and bureaucrats by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), South America’s two biggest countries are urging all other countries in the region to form a joint cyber shield to deflect such surveillance. The move, led by Brazil and Argentina, is the first such effort by a group of countries since NSA revelations about mass surveillance began to come out in June.

In a crucial meeting in Brasilia on Friday, Argentine Defence Minister Agustin Rossi met his Brazilian counterpart, Celso Amorim, and the two leaders agreed to incorporate all the 12 countries in the continent, which together form the UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), in their bilateral treaty on cyber defence.

In August, when top-secret documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had revealed that Brazil was one of the most-monitored countries by U.S. intelligence agency, the two ministers had met in Buenos Aires to discuss how to jointly fight the existing and potential cyber threats — mostly coming from the North.

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NSA surveillance may cause breakup of internet, warn experts

Matthew Taylor, Nick Hopkins & Jemima Kiss – The Guardian, 11/01/2013

The vast scale of online surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden is leading to the breakup of the internet as countries scramble to protect private or commercially sensitive emails and phone records from UK and US security services, according to experts and academics.

They say moves by countries, such as Brazil and Germany, to encourage regional online traffic to be routed locally rather than through the US are likely to be the first steps in a fundamental shift in the way the internet works. The change could potentially hinder economic growth.

“States may have few other options than to follow in Brazil’s path,” said Ian Brown, from the Oxford Internet Institute. “This would be expensive, and likely to reduce the rapid rate of innovation that has driven the development of the internet to date … But if states cannot trust that their citizens’ personal data – as well as sensitive commercial and government information – will not otherwise be swept up in giant surveillance operations, this may be a price they are willing to pay.”

Brazil to insist on local Internet data storage after U.S. spying

Esteban Israel & Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 10/28/2013

Brazil, seeking to shield its citizens from alleged U.S. spying, is pushing ahead with its plan to force global Internet companies to store data obtained from Brazilian users inside the country, according to a draft of the law seen by Reuters.

Despite opposition from multinational software, hardware and telecommunications companies, President Dilma Rousseff is pressing lawmakers to vote as early as this week on the law, sparked by disclosures of widespread U.S. spying on Brazilian telecommunications data.

If passed, the new law could impact the way Google, Facebook, Twitter and other Internet giants operate in Latin America’s biggest country and one of the largest telecommunications markets in the world.

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Brazil president says spying not justified by terrorism concern

Gerald Jeffris – Wall Street Journal, 09/24/2013

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that acts of terrorism, while deserving of condemnation and a firm international response, don’t justify government-sponsored espionage between nations, in a pointed reference to alleged U.S. spying on her country.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, the president said Brazil was determined to protect itself against spying, and she rejected assertions by U.S. officials that espionage against other nations was necessary for security purposes.

“The arguments that illegal interception of information and data are destined to protect nations against terrorism are unsustainable,” she said.

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Brazil and U.S., like star-crossed lovers, foiled again

Brian Winter – Reuters, 09/18/2013

Every time Brazil and the United States get to the altar, the roof of the church seems to collapse.

In 1982, U.S. President Ronald Reagan traveled to Brazil for a dinner banquet meant to herald a new era in ties between the Americas’ two biggest countries. But when Reagan raised his wine glass and toasted “the people of Bolivia,” it seemed to confirm his hosts’ worst fears: that the United States saw Brazil as just another poor country in its so-called backyard.

This week, hopes for a breakthrough fell apart once again, in even more dramatic fashion.

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While only a postponement, Dilma can come out winning twice

Paulo Sotero – O Estado de S. Paulo, 09/18/2013

Dilmaofficial

If the decision taken by the office of the president this Tuesday, September 17th, results in a postponement, not a cancelation of Dilma Rousseff’s state visit to Washington, the bilateral relationship can benefit from the incident provoked by the NSA espionage on Brazil.  For now, we are left with Barack Obama’s embarrassment and Dilma’s frustration, who worked in recent years to reestablish dialogue with Washington – deteriorated at the end of Lula’s government—and who believes that a more productive relationship with the U.S. helps Brazil.

The postponement of the visit will benefit the Brazilian leader twice. Now, by demonstrating that she does not allow incidents like these to go unnoticed, and later, during the visit, by showing that it will only take place once present difficulties are overcome. To meet this end, Obama and Dilma will have to promote an honest and effective dialogue to create a climate of mutual trust which has currently dissipated but without which stronger relations will not be possible.

Continue reading “While only a postponement, Dilma can come out winning twice”

NSA spying scandal spoils dinner at the White House for Brazil’s president

Juan Forero – The Washington Post, 09/17/2013

President Dilma Rousseff, incensed over a series of reports that the U.S. National Security Agency tapped her personal communications and spied on Brazil’s state oil company, has canceled a state visit to Washington next month, Brazil’s government said Tuesday.

President Obama tried to soothe Rousseff about the spying disclosures in a 20-minute phone conversation Monday night, Brazilian and American officials said. Rousseff’s aides had expressed their ire over the revelations, saying her attendance at the only state dinner the Obamas are hosting this year was in jeopardy unless the United States provided a detailed and satisfactory explanation for the spying.

“The illegal practices of intercepting the communications of citizens, businesses and members of the Brazilian government constitute a grave threat to national sovereignty and individual rights and are incompatible with the democratic coexistence between friendly countries,” said a statement issued by Brazil’s presidency.

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