Brazilian president rails against US surveillance at UN assembly

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff railed against U.S. surveillance programs on Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Rousseff last week took the extraordinary step of calling off a state visit over allegations of U.S. spying against Brazil, and used her U.N. remarks to rebuke the U.S. for its surveillance activities.

"[The U.S. has created] a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty," Rousseff said.

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Earlier this month, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald told a Brazilian television proram that the National Security Agency (NSA) monitored the communications of Brazilian and Mexican government officials.

Those allegations have created a political firestorm in Brazil, and led Rousseff to cancel what was supposed to be the first official state visit of Obama's second term.

Rousseff on Tuesday said the NSA spying is "unacceptable" and not justified by claims that it prevents terrorism.

“In the absence of the respect for sovereignty, there is no basis for the relationship among nations. … Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal.”

Rousseff called on the U.N. to “play a leading role in the effort to regulate the conduct of States with regard to” information and telecommunication technologies so that they do not become “the new battlefield between” countries.

The Brazilian leader laid out a set of principles for Internet use to “ensure the effective protection of data that travels through the Web.”

Those principles include freedom of expression, respect for privacy and a lack of political, commercial or religious restrictions for Internet traffic.