Brazil's President Rousseff condemns US spying

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff speaks at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 24, 2013 in New York City.
Credit: Spencer Platt

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff made searing critique of the US government's surveillance of her nation at the 68th United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, saying such actions violate human rights and undermine national sovereignty.

Rousseff said Brazil would seek to adopt legislation to protect itself from the illegal interception of communications and also to establish a multilateral framework to regulate and protect private data.

"We face ... a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty," Rousseff told world leaders the UN General Assembly.

Last week, Rousseff called off a US state visit after information, leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, alleged the agency had secretly spied on Brazilian officials including Rousseff and the country's state-run oil company Petrobras. 

Since then Washington has been unable to appease its South American friend, with Rousseff accusing the US of economic espionage and suggesting Brazil build its own, non-US-centered internet infrastructure

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In her speech Roussef gave a broad outline of principles she said needed to be protected, including freedom of expression and the neutrality of the internet to be guided by "technical and ethical criteria," not "political, commercial or religious" concerns.

"The time is ripe to create the conditions to prevent cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war, through espionage, sabotage and attacks against systems and infrastructure of other countries," she said. 

Other Latin American nations, including Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela are likely to air their grievances against the US at the General Assembly this week. Their criticism could range from denying diplomats visas to causing domestic economic problems.  

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