Latin America

Brazil to ‘monitor’ US pledges to halt spying

3ed445c0eafacf6dc050241b74e1a23c_LBrazil says it will closely “monitor” pledges by the United States to halt its spying activities on the leaders of Washington’s closest allies.

This comes after US President Barack Obama ordered some changes to US spying practices during a major policy speech on Friday. The changes, however, fall short of the drastic cutbacks demanded by privacy groups and average Americans.
“It is a first step. The Brazilian government will monitor with extreme attention the practical ramifications of the (Obama’s) speech,” said presidential spokesman Thomas Traumann on Sunday.
Brazil has been the target of the US National Security Agency (NSA)’s espionage activities. On September 1 last year, Brazil’s Globo television network said that the NSA had spied on emails, phone calls and text messages of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
The US spying revelations on Brazil came after American intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden 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.
President Rousseff canceled a visit to Washington in October, 2013, after it was revealed that her cell phone was monitored by the US surveillance program, as were the state oil company Petrobras and everyday Brazilian citizens.
In October last year, Rousseff spoke at the United Nations General Assembly, calling for international regulations on data privacy and limiting espionage programs targeting the Internet.
In November 2013, Brazil and Germany formally presented an anti-spying draft resolution to the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee.
On October 26 last year, a report published by German weekly Der Spiegel revealed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone had been listed by the NSA Special Collection Service (SCS) since 2002, and that her cell phone number was still listed in June 2013.

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