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417 words - September 25, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
The revelations made by now exiled-to-Russia and former United States National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden had already led to the cancellation of a bilateral summit between US President Barack Obama and his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Roussef.
According to the files leaked by Mr. Snowden to the press, the NSA has been conducting a worldwide clandestine spying and electronic surveillance program named PRISM that targets "hostile, neutral and friendly" countries indiscriminately. Such a program has been essential for monitoring, assessing and stopping terrorist activity, said in July the NSA Director and Commander of US Cyber-Command (CYBERCOM) Gen. Keith B. Alexander.
Among the friends was France, for instance, whose Presidency's network and Representation at the United Nations (UN) had been allegedly plagued with NSA's electronic trojan horses. If the European countries have seemed quite shy in their response to such a violation of their national interests – perhaps they have been part of it, unconfirmed sources said – Brazil has not hesitated to protest strongly against the US. The President herself, Ms. Roussef, has been under close surveillance.
The acknowledgement of the facts by her counterpart Obama and his promise to clarify the situation has been unfruitful so far. In her speech to the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), President Roussef denounced recent allegations of electronic information spying as "serious violations of human rights," and urged the UN to play a leading role in protecting internet users from illegal interception of communications and data.
"Meddling in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and as such it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations," Ms. Roussef said. It is not the first time Brazil has affirmed its sovereignty in its relations with the US.
When Washington put its US Visit program in place almost a decade ago due to legitimate national security concerns after 9/11 – the program includes the systematic collection of biometrics of any foreigner entering the US – Brasilia quickly reciprocated, collecting a certain amount of data about any US citizen entering Brazil. On the opposite, the EU decided not to reciprocate. Also, if most of the EU nationals don't need any visa to travel to Brazil, US citizens require one regardless of purpose and duration of visit.
In Visa as well as in sovereignty issues, Brazil has opted for reciprocity.
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