#CyberFLASH — Charges that Canada spied on Brazil unveil CSEC’s inner workings

wpid-PastedGraphic-2013-07-19-23-33.pngLeaked documents showing that Canada’s electronic intelligence-gathering agency targeted the Brazilian government threaten to disrupt relations between the countries – and thrust the secretive CSEC into the public spotlight.

On Sunday night, Brazil’s flagship Fantastico investigative program on the Globo television network revealed leaked documents suggesting that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has spied on computers and smartphones affiliated with Brazil’s mining and energy ministry in a bid to gain economic intelligence.

The report, attributed to documents first obtained by the former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden, includes frames of a CSEC-earmarked presentation that was apparently shared with the United States and other allies in June, 2012.

“Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME),” a title page of the leaked case study reads. “New target to develop.”

The impact for Canada of these revelations could be equally grave: they come at a time when Brazil has become a top destination for Canadian exports, when a stream of delegations from the oil and gas industries are making pilgrimages to Rio de Janeiro to try to get a piece of the booming offshore oil industry, and when the Canadian government is eager to burnish ties with Brasilia. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visited Brazil in August, and spoke repeatedly about the country as a critical partner for Canadian business.

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