'Presidents Obama and Rousseff at the G20'

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After NSA Scandal, Brazil Seeks Reduced U.S. Control Over Worldwide Web (Epoca, Brazil)


"From the moment you carry out this type of surveillance, you can look for any type of data ... for industrial warfare and commercial espionage. ... Our view is that there is an excessive concentration of the Internet on American soil. The truth is that, of the 13 Internet root servers, ten are in the United States, two in Europe and one in Japan - none are in the southern hemisphere. This concentration must be changed."


-- Brazil Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo


By Leandro Loyola


Translated By Brandi Miller


September 10, 2013


Brazil - Epoca - Original Article (Portuguese)

Brazil Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo: With cell phones powered down, he sat for an interview with the newspaper Epoca to discuss the ramifications of America's mass surveillance.


PRESS TV, IRAN [STATE-RUN]: NSA spied on Brazil oil giant Petrobras, Sept. 9, 00:03:50RealVideo

During an hour-long conversation, in a conference room on the eighth floor of the Ministry of Communications building, no cell phones were turned on. That fact slightly reduced the chance that the interview, granted to Época by Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo, was being spied upon. Bernardo finds it "discouraging" for international diplomacy that spy agencies are an auxiliary front in negotiations. According to him, keeping some data secret is part of the diplomatic game. "By spying on a partner's camp, a camp with whom you're negotiating, one could manipulate talks into a fraud," Paulo Bernardo said.


ÉPOCA: Época has revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA in English) spied on eight members of the U.N. Security Council during talks about sanctions against Iran in 2010. Is Brazil capable of defending itself from invasions like this?


PAULO BERNARDO: We are facing a scandal of global proportions. This episode you revealed is discouraging for international diplomacy. I realize that in a diplomatic negotiation, no one is obliged to say everything they know. That's part of the game. By spying on a partner's camp, a camp with whom you're negotiating, one could manipulate talks into a fraud. If one carries out surveillance for such purposes, you probably do so in all forums, like the WTO (World Trade Organization) or any other gathering. We are trying to understand all the dimensions of the problem. And, more than that, I think global public opinion, in Europe and even the United States, questions these methods, because their scope goes far beyond what any citizen thinks is a reasonable mandate on the part of their government.


ÉPOCA: The American government claims that it only collects general information, know as metadata. But in a document obtained by Época, the then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice refers to the thinking of America's Security Council partners. Do you think they got all that just from metadata?


PAULO BERNARDO: I think the case reported by Época has little or to do with metadata. If you want to watch a delegation, will you be monitoring if one official phones another? One need not monitor this. All the evidence indicates that they listened to conversations.


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ÉPOCA: Recently, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon said that the NSA only has access to Internet and telephone metadata in Brazil. Do you believe that?


PAULO BERNARDO: The ambassador was here, and brought along a small report on what the U.S. position is. To be fair, he reported that he carried the position after consulting with the State Department. After this, several other things came to light. It is possible that today, they have more things to disclose. That is absolutely to be expected in a situation like this. We are dealing here with national security, defense. Americans are very jealous about the concept of defense. But our view is that data collection, surveillance, refers to more than metadata. Today, newspapers bring news about how they have software that permits them to access information, including the content of e-mails, around the world.


ÉPOCA: The American government has been accused of monitoring Internet and telephone communications in Brazil. Did the government know about the technical feasibility of doing so?


PAULO BERNARDO: Apparently, the model most commonly used to collect large amounts of information is accessing datacenters from companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and several others. You collect this data and put search mechanisms in place to identify items of interest to security activity. But from the moment you carry out this type of surveillance, you can look for any other type of data ... for industrial warfare and commercial espionage. Within the United States, there is a legal basis for this.

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ÉPOCA: Former NSA consultant Edward Snowden said that the agency has access to telephone calls and e-mails in Brazil through an American communications company. Has the government taken any additional measures?


PAULO BERNARDO: Anatel [Brazil Agency of Telecommunications] has opened an investigation into this. The information is that no Brazilian company has an agreement to provide information to anyone. The government has secured networks. Now, if President Dilma calls me on my cell phone, the mechanisms of protection are the same as for any citizen. The government doesn't use encrypted cell phones. If we are making a bid and need to send information to the presidential chief of staff, I send it through our network - I repeat: this is a secure network. But that doesn't address matters that are communicated by means other than telephone.



ÉPOCA: You have already said that the Internet should not be centralized in the United States, but rather by a multilateral agency yet to be created. Does this have a chance of coming about?


PAULO BERNARDO: This will require persistence, patience and political will to resolve. Our view is that there is an excessive concentration of the Internet on American soil. The truth is that, of the 13 Internet root servers, ten are in the United States, two in Europe and one in Japan - none are in the southern hemisphere. This concentration must be changed. Another of these things is Internet governance. The Internet today is governed by an entity called ICANN, which is based in California and is under American jurisdiction. Since the Internet emerged there, this may have initially made sense. But today it [the Internet] is a global tool. The curious thing is that in December, we had a meeting of the International Telecommunication Union in Dubai. One resolution Brazil proposed is expanding multilateral governance of the Internet. In opposition to this, the United States and other countries said that if there were interference from other governments, the Internet would be subject to censorship, muzzling, and surveillance. We see today, six months later, that this was already happening.


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Posted By Worldmeets.US Sept. 10, 2013, 2:29am