The U.S. government has had to make some painful explanations following blowback generated by the highly classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden. This former CIA technical analyst leaked dozens of documents revealing the U.S. National Security Agency’s electronic spying programs, and the fact that even the country’s allies were not immune from spying. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff postponed a state visit to Washington last year in protest as it was alleged that even her phone and email were spied on by the NSA. Now Brazil and the European Union have agreed to lay a separate undersea communications cable from Lisbon to Fortaleza in order to keep U.S. spying at bay.
Addressing a joint news conference with presidents of the European Council and European Commission, President Dilma Rousseff said that “We have to respect privacy, human rights and the sovereignty of nations. We don’t want businesses to be spied upon,” adding that they have agreed for the need to guarantee “the neutrality of the network.” This announcement comes at a time when German Chancellor Angela Merkel is already championing the cause for a dedicated communications network that services Europe only, she is set to take up the matter with French President Hollande. The cable, which will run from Portugal’s capital Lisbon to the northeastern city of Fortaleza in Brazil, is expected to come in operation by next year.