Brazil's political leaders are speaking out against the U.S. government following the latest revelations that the NSA has been indiscriminately collecting the communications of millions of Brazilian citizens.
In a series of statements, Brazilian officials are now demanding answers from the U.S. as well as revamped international safeguards to protect citizens from such abuses of power.
"The Brazilian government is gravely concerned by the news that electronic and telephone communications of Brazilian citizens are the objective of espionage efforts by U.S. intelligence agencies," a Brazil foreign ministry statement said on Monday.
Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota expressed "deep concern" on Sunday "at the report that electronic and telephone communications of Brazilian citizens are being the object of espionage by organs of American intelligence."
The Brazilian government "has asked for clarifications" through the U.S. Embassy in Brazil and Brazil's embassy in Washington, Patriota said.
Patriota also said that the Brazilian government now plans to propose changes to international communications rules administered by the Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union to improve communications secrecy, and will present proposals to the United Nations to protect the privacy of electronic communication, Reuters reports.
Brazilian communications minister Paulo Bernardo, said on Monday that the agency likely intercepted the communications via satellite or by tapping undersea cables—a move he said would breach Brazilian law.
"If that has happened, these companies broke Brazilian law and acted against our constitution, which safeguards the right to privacy," Bernardo stated.
Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story in Brazil with Roberto Kaz and Jose Casado for the publication O Globo, said that the far reaching surveillance is part of the NSA's "FAIRVIEW" program—which targets the communications of citizens within "friendly foreign nations."
According to the Globo report, that was based on top secret documents provided by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Brazil was a priority nation for the program alongside China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan.
The NSA has for years "systematically tapped into the Brazilian telecommunication network and indiscriminately intercepted, collected and stored the email and telephone records of millions of Brazilians," Greenwald explained in a column for the Guardian on Sunday.
As Greenwald reports, Brazil is just one example of the many of non-adversarial countries the NSA heavily monitors:
There are many more populations of non-adversarial countries which have been subjected to the same type of mass surveillance net by the NSA: Indeed, the list of those which haven't been are shorter than those which have. The claim that any other nation is engaging in anything remotely approaching indiscriminate worldwide surveillance of this sort is baseless.