Brazil has criticized the United States for spying on Brazilian companies and individuals, saying the electronic surveillance is a violation of the South American country™s sovereignty.
“We expressed Brazil’s unhappiness on learning that data was intercepted without the authorization of Brazilian authorities, for the use of US intelligence,” Brazilian Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said on Thursday, the last day of his two-day visit to the US.
“The acts imply a violation of human rights, violation of Brazilian sovereignty and rights enshrined in our constitution,” he added.
Last month, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota expressed serious concerns over a report, which said the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on Brazilian companies and individuals for a decade.
Brazil™s O Globo newspaper reported on July 7 that the NSA had collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations in the country.
The report said that information released by US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals that the number of telephone and email messages logged by the NSA in the 10-year period was near to the 2.3 billion captured in the US during the same period.
During his visit to Washington, the Brazilin justice minister met US Vice President Joe Biden, US Attorney General Eric Holder and White House counter-terrorism adviser Lisa Monaco.
Cardozo said US officials could not allay his country™s concerns.
“We made a proposal to move toward an agreement to establish the rules on procedures in the interception of data. They told us the United States would not sign an agreement under those terms with any country in the world,” he said.
Cardozo said US officials claimed that the spying was used for counter-terrorism purpose.
“But for us it was clear that there was collection of data to deal with organized crime and drug-trafficking, but what is worse, also Brazilian diplomatic actions,” he said.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, admitted in July that Snowden™s exposés have seriously damaged US ties with other countries. œThere has been damage. I don’t think we actually have been able to determine the depth of that damage.”
Snowden, a former CIA employee, leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
The NSA scandal took even broader dimensions when Snowden revealed information about its espionage activities targeting friendly countries.