To Stop Foreign Surveillance, Brazil Plans Secure E-Mail Service

The move is in response to allegations that the US government spied on online and phone communications in the country. One expert says it should work for domestic traffic, but international transactions will require more attention.

What's the Latest Development?


This weekend, Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff announced via Twitter that the country's government plans to develop a secure e-mail service that would protect online communications from foreign spies. The announcement comes shortly after revelations that the US' National Security Agency (NSA) hacked the state-run oil company Petrobras and intercepted billions of e-mails and calls including, allegedly, Rousseff's own. In addition to postponing a state visit to the US -- telling the United Nations, "Without respect for [a nation's] sovereignty, there is no basis for proper relations among nations" -- she has declared, also via Twitter, plans to host an Internet security summit next year.

What's the Big Idea?

Cambridge University security research expert Ross Anderson says setting up this kind of e-mail service should be relatively simple, and cites the German e-mail provider Gmx.de as an example. However, he warns that ensuring complete protection from espionage would be tricky, especially when it comes to international communications: "[M]ore and more business these days is done internationally...With Gmail having something like a third of all email traffic worldwide, that means the Americans will still be able to read an awful lot of messages."

Giancarlo Liguori / Shutterstock.com

Read it at BBC News

Is life after 75 worth living? This UPenn scholar doubts it.

What makes a life worth living as you grow older?

Culture & Religion
  • Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel revisits his essay on wanting to die at 75 years old.
  • The doctor believes that an old life filled with disability and lessened activity isn't worth living.
  • Activists believe his argument stinks of ageism, while advances in biohacking could render his point moot.
Keep reading Show less

Brazil's Amazon fires: How they started — and how you can help.

The Amazon Rainforest is often called "The Planet's Lungs."

NASA
Politics & Current Affairs
  • For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
  • Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
  • There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
Keep reading Show less

Study: Sending emojis is linked to scoring more dates, sex

Emojis might contain more emotional information than meets the eye.

Pixabay
Sex & Relationships
  • A new study shows that people who frequently used emojis in text messages with potential dates engaged in more sexual activity and had more contact with those dates.
  • However, the study only shows an association; it didn't establish causality.
  • The authors suggest that emojis might help to convey nuanced emotional information that's lacking in strictly text-based messaging.
Keep reading Show less