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Petrobras will invest US$1.8B in information technology and security in 2013, $9.7B between 2013-2017; concerns over spying

19 September 2013

Brazilian oil and gas major Petrobras will invest R$4 billion (US$1.8 billion) in 2013 and R$21.2 billion (US$9.7 billion) between 2013-2017 in Information Technology and Telecommunications, according to Petrobras president Maria das Graças Silva Foster in testimony at a public hearing at Brazil’s Senate.

For the president, the huge investment demonstrates the importance Petrobras attaches to protecting its strategic information. The testimony comes in the wake of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff indefinitely postponing a state visit to Washington D.C. over the controversy over US National Security Agency (NSA) spying.

During the joint hearing with the Parliamentary Commission for the Espionage Inquiry and the Economic Affairs and Foreign Relations committees in the Senate, Graças Foster said that the company had constantly monitored and protected its information. As an example, she cited the quantity of emails that are preemptively blocked. “Between August 09 and September 09 we received 195.9 million e-mails. Of these, 16.5 million arrived at their destination,” she said.

Graças Foster said that Petrobras has an Integrated Data Processing Center, which has restricted access, and that the company’s strategic information does not go through the Internet. Critical information is stored in an encrypted closed system, and access to the center is controlled with biometrics, weighing and monitoring with cameras, she said.

Despite working with partner companies and suppliers, only Petrobras holds all the information, she said.

Commenting on press reports that the NSA has targeted Petrobras through espionage, the President said no violation of Petrobras systems had been recorded, but the presence of the company's name in reports has created “discomfort”.

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