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Brazilian Prez Rebukes US Over NSA

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff gave a speech in which she — well, maybe it’s best to just let her say it.

“What we have before us, Mr. President, is a serious case of violation of human rights and civil liberties,” Rousseff said, addressing the UN General Assembly mere moments before President Obama was to speak.

The U.S. and NSA were responsible for “invasion and capture of confidential secret information,” she asserted, adding that this is “a case of disrespect of national sovereignty, the national sovereignty of my country.”

Reports surfaced at the beginning of September that the NSA spied on the presidents of Brazil and Mexico. This didn’t go over well in Brazil: After declaring it was taking steps to thwart U.S. snooping, Rousseff canceled a planned trip to the U.S.

The U.S. has reportedly reached out to Brazil to explain (or rationalize, if you like) its spy programs. The PR doesn’t seem to have done the trick, however, as Rousseff told the UN that America’s meddling “is a breach of international law, and as such it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries.”

In other NSA news:

  • The cartoon South Park will air an episode next week in which character Eric Cartman infiltrates the NSA.
  • The Council of the European Union is seeking an expert in counterespionage, a position perhaps born from the NSA’s snooping on Europe.

[Sources:ABC News; Comedy Central via The Washington Post;Slate]

China Suspends Police Chief in Teen’s Online Rumor Case

Authorities in China suspended the police chief who oversaw the detention of Yang Hui, a 16-year-old who was detained last week for posting online rumors.

Yang was arrested after he called out local police for how they handled a local murder case. He has since been released.

Outraged by the arrest, Chinese netizens did some snooping around on the county officials who apparently sanctioned the arrest. This unearthed some dirt on the county police chief, Bai Yongqiang, who was accused of doling out roughly US$8,000 in bribes. Bai has been suspended, but state news outlet Xinhua insists the suspension has nothing to do with the Yang case.

The Chinese Supreme Court recently stiffened penalties for posting online rumors. The court declared that any rumor seen 5,000 times or reposted 500 times would land the original poster in jail.

Well, Yang’s posts went viral. He was the youngest person ever detained as part of China’s rumor purge.

Yang’s misdeed focused on a case in which the manager of a local karaoke bar was found dead. Police deemed the death a suicide, but Yang apparently spoke to the family and then opined online that it was no suicide.

[Sources:The Guardian; South China Morning Post]

Spain Adopts Harsh Piracy Penalties

Heeding pressure from the U.S., Spain has introduced tougher penalties for people operating websites that link to pirated versions of copyrighted material.

Owners turning a profit off of such sites will face a prison sentence of up to six years. Needless to say, their site will be seized as well.

This is Spain’s first attempt to target owners of websites; past legislation has focused on people who reproduce and distribute content, not those who simply house links offering access to other people’s reproduction and distribution of content.

[Source:El Pais via ZDNet]

David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author ofThe Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out hisECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.

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