Canada Caught Spying on Brazil: The Latest in Electronic Espionage

by Vins
Published: Updated:

With information released by Edward Snowden, Canada can be added to the list of countries recently caught spying electronically on several ministries of Brazil, most notably the Ministry of Mining and Energy. The Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC) has been spying on the Brazilian government for years. CSEC developed its own program named Olympia which was able to track phone calls, emails, and videoconferences made by Brazilian officials and politicians within the Ministry of Mining and Energy (MME).

CSEC, which works closely with the United States’ National Security Administration, has justified widespread Internet surveillance on grounds of national security. However, according to Camilo Cahis, “Canada’s spying of Brazil has nothing to do with the security of citizens and is one of the most blatant examples of the state using its security apparatus to further corporate interests.” For example, although she denied any knowledge of CSEC’s alleged spying in Brazil, Ann Wilkinson, an executive at Colossus Minerals Inc., a Canadian mining firm active in Brazil, said, “Mining companies need their governments from time to time to navigate challenges we get.”

“More than ever before,” Cahis writes, “Canadian firms depend upon the Canadian state to defend their investments in the ex-colonial world, especially from local populations that are sick and tired of seeing the wealth of their countries escape to the bank coffers in New York, London, Berlin, or Toronto.”


Camilo Cahis, “Canada-Brazil spygate scandal: Imperialism gets caught red-handed,” November 5, 2013,

Student Researcher: Dustin Arbuckle (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)