Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Joe Biden calls Brazil over phone and internet data collection by NSA

US Vice President Joe Biden spoke to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff for 25 minutes on Friday night (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Brazilian government says US vice president Joe Biden telephoned President Dilma Rousseff in an effort to ease tensions created by the disclosure that the United States collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations in Latin America's biggest nation.

The Brazilian presidency's website said Mr Rousseff and Mr Biden spoke for 25 minutes on Friday night.

After the phone conversation, communications minister Helena Chagas said Mr Biden called Ms Rousseff to offer explanations and to "express his regret over the negative repercussions caused by the disclosures".

Ms Chagas said Ms Rousseff accepted Mr Biden's invitation to send a delegation to Washington to receive "technical and political details" about the case.

State-run Agencia Brasil news agency said the group would comprise representatives of the foreign, justice and defence ministries and would go to Washington in about three weeks.

Ms Rousseff told Mr Biden she wanted the US government to "change its security policies and practices", Ms Chagas said.

"The president told Biden that the privacy of Brazilian citizens and the country's sovereignty cannot be infringed in the name of security," she said.

The newspaper O Globo reported earlier this month that information released by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden showed Brazil is the top target in Latin America for the NSA's intelligence-gathering effort aimed at monitoring communications around the world.

The Brazilian government is investigating the disclosures and alleged links between Brazilian and US telecommunications firms with a presence in the country.

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