| BRASILIA, April 4
BRASILIA, April 4 A Brazilian senate inquiry on
U.S. spying in the country found Brazil "unprepared" to deal
with eavesdropping by foreign agents and proposes a new law to
address its "profound vulnerability," according to a copy of a
report obtained by Reuters.
The 301-page report, following an inquiry on disclosures
last year that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on
the phone calls and emails of Brazilians, including President
Dilma Rousseff, says Brazil's government is "unprepared to
contend with intelligence activity by other governments or
The Senate report, obtained by Reuters through a source in
Brazil's Congress, says Brazil's vulnerabilities lie in the very
choices it made in developing telecommunications infrastructure.
Most of the undersea cables that carry international calls from
Brazil, for instance, are routed through Miami - handling 90
percent of the data sent from Brazil abroad.
The committee that conducted the inquiry suggested new
legislation that would "develop protective mechanisms for
cybernetic know-how and security." Among other defenses, the
report suggests a law requiring court clearance before data of
Brazilian users can be given to foreign authorities.
The wording of the report, which the Senate is expected to
disclose publicly next week, suggests Brazil is more prone to
foreign eavesdropping than senior officials so far have let on.
Rousseff, in a speech last year at the United Nations, said
"Brazil knows how to protect itself."
The speech, in which Rousseff called for a global agreement
against cross-border eavesdropping of telecommunications data,
was part of the fallout in Brazil after local media, using
information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden,
reported the extent of U.S. spying in Brazil.
Outraged by the revelations, Rousseff canceled a rare state
visit to the United States last October and demanded an apology
from U.S. President Barack Obama. The United States has publicly
regretted the incident but has so far stopped short of issuing a
"We are delivering information to them (the Americans),"
Paulo Pagliusi, a cyber security expert who testified during the
inquiry, said in an interview.
The report proposes building submarine cables that do not
pass through U.S. territory and using a communications satellite
strictly under Brazilian government control. The committee also
urged Brazil to ramp up what it says are insufficient
investments in intelligence systems, signals and cryptography.
At present, "there is no interest in investing in
intelligence," Joanisval Brito, a former Brazilian intelligence
agent who now advises the Senate, said in an interview. "We are
afraid of intelligence."
The constraints are seen even in the budget and operational
rules for Abin, Brazil's intelligence agency.
The agency, for example, is not allowed to intercept calls.
Of a budget of some $230 million for 2012, the agency spent
more than $225 on personnel and other routine costs. Only $2
million was set aside for investments.
Such are Brazil's limitations that the inquiry was unable to
determine just how, where or when the United States was able to
intercept the telecommunications data. Brazilian police, the
report said, would have a hard time proving whether the NSA had
broken any Brazilian laws.
"The Federal Police have no idea of where clandestine
interceptions might have occurred: on Brazilian territory, in
submarine cables, in geostationary satellites, or whether the
information was simply transferred by Internet providers from
servers located in the United States," the report says.
(Editing by Paulo Prada and Dan Grebler)