Brazil may soon require global Internet service providers (ISPs) to store domestic communications data in the country in response to reports that the US widely spies on telephone and Internet traffic across Latin America.
The ideal thing would be for these companies to keep their data in the country so it can be available should Brazil's justice system request it, Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo Silva told the O Estado de Sao Paulo daily in a Sunday interview.
Silva spoke after recent revelations by US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden that both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency target data in emails and telephone calls in Brazil and other Latin American countries.
Silva said that the global Internet companies now say that they cannot provide the justice system with the information because their archives are stored abroad.
Storing digital data inside Brazil's borders, the minister said, is a matter of national sovereignty.
Silva said communications in Brazil are vulnerable to unauthorised surveillance partly because the country's central Internet servers are all located in the northern hemisphere.
The government plans to invest in a national Internet network and to push for reforms so that the United Nations, not the United States, manages global communications.
The network will also help Brazil study the privacy policies of such multinational Internet companies as Facebook and Google to ensure personal freedom.
Brazil has previously called on the multinational Internet companies to maintain a data centre in the country through tax breaks and other incentives, but Silva said it now wants to guarantee that data is available through legislation.