NSA Surveillance Allegations Prompt Call By Brazil's President for Global Response

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By Daniel Pruzin

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia--Brazil President Dilma Rousseff Sept. 5 called for global action on cybersecurity in the wake of reports that the U.S. National Security Agency had tapped into her private communications and those of other world leaders.

In a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, Rousseff said there is a need for multilateral action to address issues related to internet security, Kuni Sato, spokeswoman for the Japanese ministry of foreign affairs, told reporters at a Sept. 5 press conference.

“As far as I know it was not in response to any particular incident,” Sato declared. “It has been on the international agenda for quite some time already.”

Officials said the issue also came up in a Sept. 5 meeting of the “BRICS” countries--Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa--where the group’s leaders expressed concerns about U.S. spying activities.

Asked if Rousseff had canceled plans to visit the United States in the wake of the allegations about the NSA, U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes Sept. 5 told reporters traveling with President Obama he was not aware of any such cancellation and said the United States is committed to working with Brazil to understand their concerns about the NSA.

Prior Brazilian Concerns

Brazil’s foreign minister said July 7 that Brazil would seek improvement of multilateral rules on telecommunications security through the United Nations's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) (12 PVLR 1247, 7/15/13).

Brazil would also launch UN initiatives aimed at “prohibiting abuse and preventing invasion of privacy of virtual network users, establishing clear standards of behavior for states in the field of information and telecommunications in order to ensure cybersecurity that protects citizens’ rights and preserves the sovereignty of all countries,” the foreign minister added.

ITU officials later downplayed the prospects for a Brazilian proposal for new multilateral rules on telecommunications security in response to recent revelations of widespread U.S. surveillance of online communications (12 PVLR 1290, 7/22/13).

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