Germany and Brazil have decided to work together to push a UN resolution aimed at restraining the U.S.'s international surveillance of, among other things, world leaders. While the draft resolution, first reported by Foreign Policy, doesn't directly address the NSA revelations, it's clearly aimed at U.S. intelligence's recently revealed spying efforts.
The resolution wouldn't actually be able to curb the NSA's surveillance. Instead, it would call for an expansion of international privacy rights under the International Covenant Civil and Political Rights. That agreement was drafted well before the internet, and Germany and Brazil would like to apply its protections specifically to online communication. The two countries met with other European and Latin American officials on Thursday to discuss a draft, which they hope the UN human rights committee will consider later this year. While the draft resolution idea highlights international displeasure with the U.S's broad data collection, it seems to worry some U.S. officials less than another potential fallout from inconvenient disclosures of the US's bulk data collection in foreign, including friendly, countries. Foreign Policy explains:
Although the U.N.'s ability to fundamentally constrain the NSA is nil, the mounting international uproar over U.S. surveillance has security experts fearful for the ramifications. "The worst case scenario I think would be having our European allies saying they will no longer share signals intelligence because of a concern that our SigInt is being derived from mechanisms that violate their privacy rules," said Ray Kimball, an army strategist with policy experience on European issues. He stressed that he was not speaking for the military.
Earlier on Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the U.S. was in the middle of warning some of its international friends that the documents obtained by Edward Snowden could reveal details of secret agreement and collaborations with the U.S. But despite that effort, the international community isn't exactly happy with the NSA after documents revealed that the U.S. was spying on 35 world leaders. Brazil and Germany have been particularly vocal with their complaints: German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Obama on Wednesday over allegations that the NSA may have listened in on her mobile phone calls. Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a planned visit to the U.S. over reports of widespread data collection on Brazilian citizens, including Rousseff herself.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.