By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President Dilma Rousseff announced a new e-mail protection system developed by federal data processing service, Serpro (Serviço Federal de Processamento de Dados) will be implemented to secure messages sent and received throughout the Brazilian government. The news came via Twitter on the afternoon of Sunday, October 12th.
“I determined [Serpro will be used for] the deployment of a security system for all of the federal government’s e-mails” Rousseff tweeted. “This is the first step to extend the privacy and inviolability of official messages.” She added moments later; “More security is needed in messaging, to prevent possible espionage.”
The strengthening of e-mail security comes after the newest allegations of spying on Brazilian targets surfaced on Sunday, October 6th when Rio-based American journalist Glenn Greenwald revealed more documents obtained by former NSA analyst-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The most recent documents taken from the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) revealed detailed records kept by the Canadian intelligence agency that included Brazilian Ministry of Energy and Mines’ phone calls, emails and Internet usage. Several concerned Brazilian officials worried that the information gathering was possible industrial espionage.
Other previously released classified documents by Greenwald also led to allegations that Brazil’s top government officials, including President Dilma Rousseff and Brazil’s majority state owned oil company Petrobras had been targeted by the United State’s National Security Agency (NSA).
Brazilian officials have reacted by strengthening the security of communications within the government. The Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin) are improving the encryption of landlines and mobile signals while also developing a pen drive that encrypts documents saved into it.
There is also talk of a Brazilian geostationary satellite. A Visiona (a joint venture of the companies Embraer and Telebras) would assemble the satellite, provided by European company Thales Alenia Space, and keep communications within Brazil. Currently Brazil’s data, telephone and television signals, and military communications go through a satellite owned by the Embratel, a company operated by Mexican businessman Carlos Slim.
The new e-mail system by Serpro, a public company under the Ministry of Finance, will be developed through a partnership with Correios, the Brazilian state-owned postal service. The security system is anticipated to be operational in the second half of 2014 with The Ministry of Communications scheduled to begin testing the program as early as this month.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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