Brazil Investigating U.S. Spy Allegations

Created: 2013-07-09 11:03 EST

Category: World > South America

Brazilian Minister of Communications Paulo Bernardo on Monday (July 8) said the government was investigating allegations that United States spy agencies had been monitoring electronic communications of Brazilians for at least a decade.

Brazil's telecommunications agency also said on Monday it would investigate whether local operators had violated customer privacy rules.

[Paulo Bernardo, Brazilian Minister of Communications]:
"I want to say the following. We have to investigate this. The federal police are going to do an inquiry. The Brazilian Agency of Telecommunications (ANATEL) opened a procedure to investigate all of this. We are going to examine it. Look, this issue, in my opinion, has to be dealt with multilaterally. Other countries have to take part."

The Globo newspaper reported the U.S. National Security Agency has been monitoring the phone and e-mail activity of Brazilian companies and individuals as part of U.S. espionage activities.

Some access to Brazilian communications was obtained through American companies that were partners with Brazilian telecommunications companies, according to the report.

[Paulo Bernardo, Brazilian Minister of Communications]:
"This is a crime and we are going to investigate it. It is confirmed, we are going to look at all the measures characterized in this crime."

Brazil plans to present proposals to the United Nations to protect the privacy of electronic communication.

[Paulo Bernardo, Brazilian Minister of Communications]:
"The governance of the Internet can't remain concentrated exclusively in the hands of the Americans. I spoke with the American authorities several times. I spoke with the ambassador today. We believe the Internet is a global communications tool and should be governed multilaterally."

The Globo report cited documents obtained from U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden, a former NSA intelligence contractor.

Snowden's U.S. passport has been revoked and he was most recently seen in the transit area of a Moscow airport.

Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua have offered to give Snowden asylum.