The cyber espionage conducted by the United State’s National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States in Brazil is similar to that in progress in other Latin American countries, including Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico, unveiled on Tuesday Brazilian newspaper O Globo.
The report, prepared jointly with British journalist Glenn Greenwald of British newspaper The Guardian, is based on NSA documents leaked by former agent Edward Snowden. The report reveals that, by using a program called Prism, the agency collected data on Venezuelan oil and military purchases, as well as information on energy and narcotics in Mexico, DPA reported.
The agency also monitored the movements of the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) thanks to Prism, which eases access to e-mails, online chats, and other types of communications of customers of companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and You Tube.
Based on the report, Mexico and Colombia, together with Brazil, were the two Latin American countries with increased activity of satellite spying practices on phone calls and e-mail messages by the NSA, in cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The Prism is not the only program used by the NSA in spying activities in Latin America. According to documents, between January and March the “Boundless Informant” program – able to monitor phone calls and access to the Internet- was running.
Another program, X-Keyscore, which can identify the presence of a foreigner in a country through the language used in e-mails, has been used by the NSA in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela in 2008, precisely at the time when Colombian military invaded the territory of Ecuador to kill a FARC leader, sparking a political crisis in the region.
Espionage activity in Colombia intensified again in March, after the death of President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez, the report added.
The newspaper also noted that, in addition to cyber espionage, the NSA also used, at least until 2002, personal computers belonging to secret agents disguised as diplomats operating in at least five countries: Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, and Venezuela.
“It is certain, too, that the NSA maintained, at least until 2002, data harvest center in Central America, located in Sábana Seca, in the district of San Juan de Puerto Rico, according to the maps of the agency,” read the report, adding that it has not been possible to confirm whether the activities in Puerto Rico are still in progress or not.