BRASILIA: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff demanded yesterday that Canada explain a media report that said it spied on Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry, and she called on the United States and its allies to stop spying over the Internet.
A Brazilian television report said on Sunday that Canada’s electronic eavesdropping agency targeted the ministry that manages the South American nation’s vast mineral and oil resources. The report was based on documents leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
“That is unacceptable between nations that are supposed to be partners,” Rousseff said via Twitter. “We repudiate this cyber warfare.”
Rousseff, who cancelled a planned state visit to the United States this month because of previous reports that the NSA had spied on her telephone calls and emails, noted that Sunday’s report pointed to Canada’s interests in Brazilian mining, where many Canadian companies are active. By targeting the mines ministry, Rousseff said, Canadian spying is nothing less than industrial espionage. She has rejected US explanations that NSA spying is aimed solely at identifying terrorist threats and is not motivated by commercial interests.
“The United States and its allies must immediately stop their spying activity once and for all,” Rousseff tweeted.
Brazil’s Foreign Ministry summoned Canada’s ambassador to demand an explanation for what it called a “serious and unacceptable violation” of Brazilian sovereignty and the right to privacy of its citizens and companies, a ministry statement said.
The report broadcast on Sunday by TV Globo, which gave no evidence that any strategic data had been intercepted, follows earlier disclosures by the network that the NSA snooped on Rousseff herself. TV Globo also reported that the NSA hacked into the computers of Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras.
Angered by the reports of US espionage, Rousseff cancelled the visit to Washington and, later, at an address before the UN General Assembly, denounced it as a violation of human rights and international law.