A Canadian spying agency has apparently targeted Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry with a program capable of mapping phone calls, emails and video conferences by those inside the ministry, according to documents from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
The report aired on Brazilian television further suggested Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) sought to develop the Ministry as a target. The goal was to map out the communications as part of a software program named Olympia.
Slides, according to The Globe and Mail in Canada, showed “CSEC focused on ministry portable devices and was able to identify their carriers (such as Brazil Telecom SA or Global Village Telecom), the kind of hardware being used (for example a Nokia 3120 or an Android-based Motorola MRUQ7) and metadata about where calls were placed, in countries such as Peru, Venezuela, Poland, Singapore, Great Britain.”
The phone of a career diplomat, Paulo Cordeiro de Andrade Pinto, who from 2008 to 2011 was ambassador to Canada and is now Brazil’s Under Secretary for Middle East and Africa, was targeted.
CSEC also worked with “hacking specialists” in a unit in the NSA to conduct what are called Tailored Access Operations to possibly conduct a “Man on the Side operation,” jargon for eavesdropping.
Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, already infuriated in the past month by reports that the NSA spied on Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, reacted that this violated Brazil’s sovereignty and “demanded an explanation for ‘unacceptable’ spying carried out by Communications Security Establishment Canada on Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy,” according to The Globe and Mail.
She apparently delivered her reaction on Twitter and additionally stated the “Ministry has good systems of data protection” but the energy minister will do a “rigorous evaluation” to ensure they are improved. The Foreign Ministry will demand an explanation because “espionage infringes on the sovereignty of nations and the privacy of individuals and enterprises. [cont’d.]
Photo by Eduardo Zárate under Creative Commons license