Thursday

18th Apr 2019

Brazil champions undersea cable to bypass US

A proposal to lay an undersea cable between Portugal and Brazil to circumvent US snooping has been praised by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

Rousseff on Monday (25 February) in Brussels at the annual EU-Brazil summit told reporters that privacy, human rights, and the sovereignty of nations must be respected.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff wants an undersea cable to Europe

"The internet is one of the best things man has ever invented. So we agreed for the need to guarantee ... the neutrality of the network, a democratic area where we can protect freedom of expression," she said.

Brazilian state-owned telecom provider Telebra is reported to have cut a deal last month with Spain's IslaLink’s Submarine Cables to lay the €134 million cable.

The plan is to reroute Brazil’s internet traffic, which currently passes through a network access point in Florida, away from the US altogether.

Work is set to commence over the summer. Brazil is expected to pay most of the bill, reports Reuters.

The EU, for its part, back the plans.

"We welcomed the plans for the future installation of a fibre-optic submarine cable linking Brazil and Europe, which will improve communications between the two continents," said the EU Council, representing member states, in a statement.

Media reports last year alleged the US National Security Agency (NSA) had intercepted Rousseff’s communications and infiltrated Brazil’s state-run oil giant Petrobras.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also had her phone tapped, according to leaked documents from former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The snooping scandals damaged US-EU relations and prompted German calls earlier this month to set up an exclusive EU internet zone in a wider effort to block out US-led spying on EU citizens.

Despite promises made by US president Barack Obama that the Americans do not collect signals intelligence on the scale revealed by Snowden’s revelations, the EU has threatened to scrap data exchange agreements with Washington.

American officials also deny reports they spy on foreign companies in order to gain a competitive advantage.

“The NSA will not be used for industrial espionage or as a tool for American businesses. American companies will not be getting commercial information,” Peter Swire, a member of Obama’s NSA review team, told reporters in Brussels in January.

Swire said there is now a much stricter screen on leadership intelligence when it comes to “our allies than what existed previously.”

Meanwhile, Bild am Sonntag over the weekend cited a senior NSA employee that some 320 German high-ranking officials and businessmen are on a NSA watchlist.

"We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able to monitor the Chancellor's communication directly," the paper quoted the NSA employee as saying.

Prison suicide rates in France highest in Europe

Suicide rates per 10,000 inmates in 2017 in France stood at 12.6, higher than any other European country. The latest figures are part of a much bigger report out Tuesday by the Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us