After revelations that the NSA has been engaging in corporate and political espionage in Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff has made it clear her country will not stand for such a violation by canceling an October trip to the U.S. as well as making plans to protect Internet usage within its borders. Tuesday, at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, Rousseff gave a scathing speech in which she called the American government’s excuse for spying on the South American country to protect it from terrorism “untenable” and, addressing Barack Obama directly, exclaimed, “Brazil, Mr. President, knows how to protect itself.”

More important, she also condemned the espionage by stating, “We face, Mr. President, a situation of a grave violation of human rights and civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.”

The sovereignty of one country should not be ascertained by trampling on the rights of another, she asserted, while asking the United Nations to “play a leading role in the effort to regulate the conduct of states with regard to these technologies.” The NSA’s spying is a problem that involves the entire international community and thus “demands a response from it,” Rousseff said. Adding insult to injury, the Brazilian president showed her disdain for American imperialism with her comment that “Information and telecommunication technologies cannot be the new battlefield between states.” And her government, Rousseff added, will do whatever it takes to protect its citizens’ rights as well as their intellectual property.

Mr. President, it looks like you chose the wrong country to pick on.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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