The governments of Argentina and Brazil have agreed to cooperate on improving their cyber defence capabilities, following revelations that the U.S. was spying on South American governments through their e-mails, phone calls and other forms of communications.
“We need to reflect on how we cooperate to face these new forms of attack,” said Brazil’s Defence Minister, Celso Amorim, during a joint conference with his Argentine counterpart Agustin Rossi in Buenos Aires.
“We have decided that before the year ends we will hold a meeting in Brasilia to intensify cyber-defence complementary works,” said Rossi, as cited by MercoPress; adding, “the current espionage system (by the U.S.)… demands not only of each country’s efforts but of complementary work to counteract vulnerable situations.”
The relationship between the U.S. and Brazil has been strained ever seen leaked documents by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the intelligence agency had been eavesdropping on the communications of Brazilian politicians, including President Dilma Rousseff, and state-owned oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro.
Other South American nations, including Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela, have also been outraged by the revelations, while Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner claimed a few weeks ago that she felt “a shiver go down her spine” when she learned that Washington was carrying cyber-espionage in Argentina.
Last Friday, Brazil’s Rousseff reacted by pushing for legislations that would force U.S. tech giants like Google and Facebook to store locally gathered data inside Brazil. Rousseff also said that she might cancel a planned state visit to Washington next month if U.S. President Barack Obama fails to response appropriately to the revelations. Obama has committed to giving an official response by this Wednesday, said Rousseff.
At the joint conference in Buenos Aires last week, the defence ministers of Brazil and Argentina also agreed to a range of other initiatives to boost joint industrial defence programs.
“We will continue to develop the industrial projects we have in common, the UNASUR training aircraft and the freight plane that is being developed in Brazil,” said Rossi, adding that Argentine shipyards could also be used to repair Brazilian vessels or even build equipment for the two navies.
According to reports, the Foreign Relations Committee of Brazil’s House of Representatives has unanimously decided to send representatives to Russia to meet Edward Snowden in order to discuss the extent of U.S. cyber espionage.
Brazil’s lawmakers have said they want to discuss the revelations with Mr. Snowden, whose documents indicated that Brazil was one of the prime targets of Washington’s global surveillance programme.
Brazilian authority are concerned that the spying was driven “not by security or combating terrorism, but by economic and strategic interests.”