BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Brazil and the European Union agreed on Monday to lay an undersea communications cable from Lisbon to Fortaleza to reduce Brazil’s reliance on the United States after Washington spied on Brasilia.
At a summit in Brussels, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the $185 million cable project was central to “guarantee the neutrality” of the Internet, signaling her desire to shield Brazil’s Internet traffic from U.S. surveillance.
“We have to respect privacy, human rights and the sovereignty of nations. We don’t want businesses to be spied upon,” Rousseff told a joint news conference with the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council.
“The Internet is one of the best things man has ever invented. So we agreed for the need to guarantee … the neutrality of the network, a democratic area where we can protect freedom of expression,” Rousseff said.
Rousseff postponed a state visit to Washington last year in protest at the U.S. National Security Agency spying on her email and phone and is now seeking alternative routes to U.S. cables.
Brazil relies on U.S. undersea cables to carry almost all of its communications to Europe.