Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Legislators Move to Restrict NSA Surveillance in Brazil



On Thursday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff asked legislators to quickly approve a bill that would require technology companies to store private user data on Brazilian-based servers and comply with Brazil’s digital privacy laws. This comes as members of Brazil’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee also announced yesterday that they would seek meetings with Edward J. Snowden, the former NSA contractor and leaker who is currently living under asylum in Russia.

The actions in Brazil come shortly after President Dilma Rousseff’s departure from the G20 summit. There, she spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama who agreed to formally respond to allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had conducted mass surveillance activities in Brazil. New reports released on September 8 revealed that the agency also spied on Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras.

Rousseff expressed further concern after learning that Petrobras, which is currently developing technology to dramatically expand offshore oil exploration, was a primary target of NSA surveillance. In an official statement released Monday, she wrote, “Without a doubt, Petrobras does not represent a threat to any country. But it does represent one of the world’s largest oil assets and the property of the Brazilian people.”

U.S. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper defended the program and said the U.S. routinely collects intelligence for insight into other countries’ economic policies. He added that U.S. intelligence agencies do not share the information with U.S. companies.

These latest developments follow Rousseff’s repeated statements that she has not decided whether she will move forward with a planned state visit to Washington in October.

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