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Brazil Builds Internet Cable To Portugal To Avoid NSA Surveillance

Brazil is building a cable across the Atlantic to escape the reach of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The move is one of many ways the Brazilian government is breaking ties with American technology companies — but it won’t come cheap.

The 3,500-mile fiber-optic cable will stretch from Fortaleza to Portugal, with an estimated cost of $185 million, Bloomberg reported. Of course, none of this will go to American vendors.

Last year, Edward Snowden leaked documents that showed the NSA was accessing personal information of Brazilian citizens, including listening to phone calls of President Dilma Rousseff, its embassies and the state-owned oil company Petrobras.

“As many other Latin Americans, I fought against authoritarianism and censorship and I cannot but defend, in an uncompromising fashion, the right to privacy of individuals and the sovereignty of my country,” Rousseff said at the U.N. that year.

“The arguments that the illegal interception of information and data aims at protecting nations against terrorism cannot be sustained. Brazil, Mr. President, knows how to protect itself. We reject, fight and do not harbor terrorist groups,” she said.

Brazil has already switched its dominant email system from Microsoft Outlook to a state-developed platform called Expresso, and last November required all government agencies to use state-owned companies for their technology services.

Brazil is the seventh-largest economy in the world. U.S. companies could lose as much as $35 billion in revenue in the next two years, as buyers doubt the security of their connections, according to research group Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.

The cable is set to be constructed in early 2015, overseen by state-owned company Telecomunicacoes Brasileiras SA, known as Telebras.

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Royce Christyn
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