The Brazilian government is going ahead with plans to move away from “US-centric internet” only a month after President Dilma Rouseff called on the UN to oversee a new global legal system to govern the internet.
The urgency to shield her country from the US National Security Agency (NSA) comes after whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed the US of using the to spy on both allies and enemies by accessing the emails and phone tapping, including that of political leaders, government departments and private companies.
Rouseff's government plans to set up a Great Wall of sorts, that will use underwater fibre optic cables to directly link Brazil to Europe and thus, evade the NSA. At present, more than 80 percent of Brazil’s online searches flow through US-based companies who have proved to be unreliable in keeping the NSA out.
"Brazil intends to increase its independent internet connections with other countries," Rousseff's office said, as quoted by the Associated Press.
According to reports, the EU and Brazil have found common ground on data privacy issues and that "negotiations are underway in South America for the deployment of land connections between all nations”.
“We have decided that Brazil will host in April 2014 an international summit of government, industry, civil society and academia,” Rouseff tweeted last week.
Brazil also plans to increase investment in home-grown technology and invest in software that meets government regulations.
A report from the NSA inspector general in August – an internal, independent watchdog – found that analysts ignored “minimization processes” meant to curb any violations. The incidents in question are expected to fuel current conversations about bolstering oversight of the NSA’s surveillance apparatus.
President Rousseff has cancelled next month’s meeting in Washington, where she was to be feted with a state dinner. Brazil has also put off making a decision to purchase 36 fighter aircraft owing to its budget woes and NSA spying issues.
Germany will join Brazil is setting up measure to protect its citizens privacy. The government of Germany plans to implement a series of measures designed to limit America’s access to the communications of European citizens and institutions, according to senior German cabinet officials.
Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economics and Technology, Philipp Rösler, said Germany will take action to limit NSA’s ability to spy on European Union communications traffic.
The first step in the process will be to build “a strong European information technology industry which can offer alternatives” to American-owned firms that collaborate with the NSA, said Rösler.
Other measures will include enhancing the security of European cloud computing processes and structures, and strengthening contacts between established information technology companies and start-up enterprises.
Germany also plans to negotiate with the European Commission (the European Union’s executive arm) aimed at strengthening European data protection legislation and legally forcing the US to stop its indiscriminate surveillance of European communications networks, according to reports.
In August, Germany announced the termination of a longstanding surveillance cooperation agreement with Britain and the US.