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“Brazil, Mr President, knows how to protect itself. We reject, fight and do not harbour terrorist groups,” said President Rousseff.
“As many other Latin Americans, I fought against authoritarianism and censorship and I cannot but defend, in an uncompromising fashion, the right to privacy of individuals and the sovereignty of my country,” she added.
Rousseff claimed that the US is indulging in “a breach of international law” in allowing such intelligence programmes.
“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,” said the president in her address.
Rousseff gave the opening speech at the UNGA and was followed by US President Barack Obama.
The Brazilian president announced to world leaders gathered in New York that the country will usher in new legislation and technology to shield its citizens from such surveillance.
She also urged the UN to form a global body that would draft international rules on privacy and security in cyberspace.
“The 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,” she said.
Information of US spying in Brazil was first revealed when NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked vital intelligence data to the media.
The data showed that there was a persistent and continuing effort by the US government to use a widespread surveillance scheme that monitored millions of emails and phone calls made by Brazilian citizens and companies.
“Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information – often of high economic and even strategic value – was at the centre of espionage activity. Also, Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the permanent mission to the UN and the office of the president of the republic itself, had their communications intercepted,” Rousseff said.
Rousseff had earlier indefinitely postponed her first official visit to the US during the Obama administration’s second term saying she has not received adequate answers about alleged NSA spying in her country.
Brazil’s president had also asked Brazilian legislators to urgently vote on a bill that would force foreign companies to store all data about their Brazilian clients on servers based in the country.