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Brazilian president accuses US of violating 'human rights and civil liberties'

During statements made on Tuesday at the United Nations, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the US grossly overstepped the limits of its power with its extensive data collection program.

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Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil, arrives with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a photo opportunity during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.

Craig Ruttle/ AP Photo

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Brazil's president delivered a stinging rebuke Tuesday to the United States over its surveillance program that has swept up data from billions of telephone calls and emails that have passed through Brazil — including her own.

She also called on the global body to create a framework of Internet regulation to halt the US and other nations from using it as the "new battlefield" of espionage.

Addressing the UN General Assembly on the first day of its annual meeting, President Dilma Rousseff accused the US of violating Brazil's sovereignty with what she called a "grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties."

"In the absence of the respect for sovereignty, there is no basis for the relationship among nations," Rousseff said. "Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable."

Last week, she shelved an upcoming state trip to the US in a show of anger over the US National Security Agency program.

Brazil is an important hub for trans-Atlantic fiber optic cables. The NSA, tasked with intercepting potential terror communications, also reportedly hacked into the computer network of state-run oil company Petrobras.

Rousseff said the NSA also collected economic and strategic corporate data, as well as messages by Brazilian diplomats, including to the United Nations, and from her own office.

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