Blame Canada: Snowden reveals Canadians also spying on Brazil

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Brendan Bordelon Contributor
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The Brazilian government demanded answers from Canada for its alleged spying on Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry, after the latest leak from former contractor Edward Snowden revealed Canadian involvement in the secret collection of foreign metadata.

The Washington Post reports that Brazil’s foreign minister summoned the Canadian ambassador on Monday “to transmit the indignation of the Brazilian government and demand explanations.”

According to a report from Brazil’s Globo television network, Canada’s Communications Security Establishment targeted phone call and email metadata in order to map the agency’s communications. It’s unclear if the contents of the calls and emails were also recorded.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who last month cancelled an important state visit to the United States over allegations of spying, said in a tweet on Monday that the Canadian snooping appears to be for “economic and strategic reasons.”

“It’s urgent that the U.S. and its allies end their spying activities once and for all,” she said, while also instructing Brazil’s mining agency to increase its data security systems.

“Canada has interests in Brazil, especially the minerals sector,” said Mines and Energy Minister Edson Lobao, whose agency is planning to auction off the rights to operate massive oil fields recently discovered off Brazil’s southeastern coast. “Whether the interest of spying is to serve business interests of certain groups, I can’t say.”

A spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to comment, stating that Canada’s electronic intelligence agency “does not comment on its specific foreign intelligence activities or capabilities.”

The report is reminiscent of last month’s revelation that the United States intelligence pried into the private communications of Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil conglomerate. Taken together, they may signify a broader campaign of economic espionage against the resource-rich Latin American nation.

The data collected by Canadian agents was reportedly shared with other important English-speaking countries, including the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Together, the nations reportedly make up Five Eyes, a global intelligence ring that passes information between allied security agencies.

In an interview with the German Der Spiegel in July, Edward Snowden claimed that America’s foreign partners in Five Eyes “sometimes go even further than the National Security Agency themselves.”

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