At U.N., Brazil’s Rousseff blasts U.S. spying as breach of law

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
President Dilma Rousseff
Opening speaker at the U.N. General Assembly

Rousseff had expressed her displeasure last week by calling off a high-profile state visit to the United States scheduled for October over reports that the U.S. National Security Agency had been spying on Brazil.

In unusually strong language, Rousseff launched a blistering attack on U.S. surveillance, calling it an affront to Brazilian sovereignty and “totally unacceptable.”

“Tampering 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,” Rousseff told the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

She also proposed an international framework for governing the internet and said Brazil would adopt legislation and technology to protect it from illegal interception of communications.

“Information and telecommunication technologies cannot be the new battlefield between states. 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,” Rousseff said.

U.S. President Barack Obama was en route to the United Nations while Rousseff spoke. Speaking immediately after Rousseff, he avoided direct reference to her criticism.

“We have begun to review the way that we gather intelligence, so as to properly balance the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies, with the privacy concerns that all people share,” said Obama, who concentrated mostly on the crisis in Syria and the prospects for a diplomatic opening with Iran. Read more

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