December 5, 2013
ALLEGATION ADDS TO WASHINGTON-BRASILIA TENSIONMonday, September 9, 2013
NSA spied on Petrobras, TV Globo says
SAO PAULO — The United States government allegedly spied on Brazilian oil company Petrobras, TV Globo’s website said yesterday.
TV Globo, Latin America’s biggest television network, said the information was provided by US journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has worked with former National Security Agency (NSA) agent Edward Snowden to expose US spying around the globe.
A week ago, TV Globo reported that the NSA had spied on both Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The report angered Rousseff who asked Washington for explanations.
The allegation that the US spied on Petrobras would prove that the US government has used the NSA spying programmes not only to spy on potential terrorists, but also to gain commercial advantages.
TV Globo said on its website yesterday that Sunday night show Fantástico would provide more details. Greenwald, a blogger and civil rights activist who lives in Rio de Janeiro, rejected talking about the accusations until after Fantástico was aired last night.
Brazil has demanded a formal apology from the US and Rousseff’s aides have said that a visit to Washington planned for next month could be cancelled over the row.
Rousseff and US President Barack Obama held an improvised meeting on the sidelines of the G20 in Russia last week. Obama said he would investigate the accusations.
Brazil has recently discovered an enormous deepwater oil field, known as “subsalt” which could contain up to 100 billion barrels of crude, according to local estimates.
NSA can access
According to a report yesterday in German news weekly Der Spiegel, the NSA is able to crack protective measures on iPhones, BlackBerry and Android devices, giving it access to users’ data on all major smartphones.
The magazine cited internal documents from the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ in which the agencies describe setting up dedicated teams for each type of phone as part of their effort to gather intelligence on potential threats such as terrorists.
The data obtained this way includes contacts, call lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information, Der Spiegel reported. The documents don’t indicate that the NSA is conducting mass surveillance of phone users but rather that these techniques are used to eavesdrop on specific individuals, the magazine said.
The article doesn’t explain how the magazine obtained the documents, which are described as “secret.” But one of its authors is Laura Poitras, a US filmmaker with close contacts to NSA leaker Edward Snowden who has published several articles about the NSA in Der Spiegel in recent weeks.
The documents outline how, starting in May 2009, intelligence agents were unable to access some information on BlackBerry phones for about a year after the Canadian manufacturer began using a new method to compress the data. After GCHQ cracked that problem, too, analysts celebrated their achievement with the word “Champagne,” Der Spiegel reported.
The magazine printed several slides alleged to have come from an NSA presentation referencing the film 1984, based on George Orwell’s book set in a totalitarian surveillance state. The slides — which show stills from the film, former Apple Inc chairman Steve Jobs holding an iPhone, and iPhone buyers celebrating their purchase — are captioned: “Who knew in 1984... that this would be big brother... and the zombies would be paying customers?”
Snowden’s revelations have sparked a heated debate in Germany about the country’s cooperation with the United States in intelligence matters.
On Saturday, thousands of people in Berlin protested the NSA’s alleged mass surveillance of Internet users. Many held placards with slogans such as “Stop watching us.”
Herald with AP, Reuters, online media