Brazil welcomes Obama spying pledges with caution

Brazil welcomes Obama spying pledges with caution

Summary: Dilma Rousseff's government will monitor the US spying overhaul "very closely"


The Brazilian government has given a cautious welcome to Barack Obama's speech on reforms created in response to leaks by the fugitive National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden on Friday (17).

According to president Dilma Rousseff's spokesman Thomas Traumann, the Brazilian government analyzed the pledges by the United States president in detail.

"It's a first step. The Brazilian government will monitor the practical ramifications of the speech very closely," the spokesman says.

Since the brief official announcement yesterday (19), Rousseff's government instructed the Foreign Relations Ministry to make a thorough analysis of Obama's speech.

Among the various spying pledges made last Friday, Obama said it will no longer monitor the personal communications of friendly heads of state. The NSA’s collection of intelligence included allegedly hacking into the communications of presidents including Dilma Rousseff and Germany's Angela Merkel.

Since the accusations became public, Brazil and Germany have pushed for a United Nations resolution for online privacy to be recognised as a human right and also for "no-spy" agreements with the US.

Key priorities for the Brazilian government in 2014 include the creation of cybersecurity policies and trying to lead the discussions around the creation of a global governance model for the Internet, which will be the theme of a major two-day event in April.

Topics: IT Security in the Snowden Era, Government, Security

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  • There is a little technical imprecision there...

    Angela Merkel is the "Bundeskanzler" or Federal Chancellor of Germany, equivalent to Prime Minister in other countries. As such, she is the head of *government* of Germany (read: she's the real boss), but she is not the head of *state*. This capacity belongs to the President of Germany, currently Joachim Gauck. In Germany, the President is a largely ceremonial position with very little real power, not unlike the reigning sovereign in constitutional monarchies, with the difference that he or she is elected. Yet it is the President that officially both symbolizes and represents the state.
    • Journalists get lazy

      In some countries, political leadership is vested in the head of state (who might not be the titular head of government); in others, it's vested in the head of government, so journalists will sometimes use the term "head of state" indiscriminately.

      In France (among other countries), political leadership is vested in the President, even though there is a separate Prime Minister at the head of the cabinet, so we really can't say "heads of government" genericly either.
      John L. Ries