South America studies how to curb US ‘spying’ -Ecuador

NEW YORK (Reuters) – South American nations are jointly exploring the creation of a communications system to curtail US spying in the region, Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said yesterday.

He said the idea was to set up a common platform to “minimize risks of being spied on” and added the project was an outgrowth of the disclosures by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden on US spying worldwide.

The new project is under consideration by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which groups the 12 governments of the continent. UNASUR is based in Quito, Ecuador’s capital.

“We have decided to begin to work on new Internet communication systems of our countries, of our societies, to avoid continuing being the object and prey of illegal spying that US spying entities have developed against us,” Patino said in an interview with Reuters at Ecuador’s mission to the United Nations in New York City.

UNASUR’s defence council – made up of the region’s defence ministers – is in charge of examining how to implement the idea.

“The ministers of defence have instructed their technical teams to examine the project,” he said. “I understand there have been meetings at a technical level to advance the creation to minimise the risk of espionage.”

Those meetings had taken place in recent weeks, he added. Latin American countries raised a storm of protest after, according to NSA leaks by Snowden, the agency spied on an array of nations in the region.

On Tuesday, in a speech to the UN General Assembly, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff accused the United States of violating human rights and international law through espionage that included spying on her email.

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