The headline reads: “Germany and Brazil Turn to U.N. for Help with American Spying.” The evil incompetents at the NSA overreached, were caught and thereby created a crisis of headlines, the biggest no-no of all for a spy agency. But it isn’t only our President who never wastes a crisis; the scandal serves many.
Brazil, Germany, Mexico are just a few whose names have been appearing in the news of NSA eavesdropping. Stories have suggested that NSA workers listened in on their significant others and have figuratively opened the mail of well, nearly every human being and Senators. And our Prez’ comment was: “Everybody spies” or some such. Standing there in the middle of the kitchen with his hand in the cookie jar. Yeah, everybody spies but you notice two things: They don’t have the resources of an NSA for one thing, and their hanky-panky doesn’t usually turn up in headlines, for another. Germany’s Chancellor Merkel didn’t call President Obama to complain because of the spying; it was that the headlines made her look dumb. And I suppose German spying on the U.S. has gone up… Brazil, too and Mexico; they now have a built-in excuse.
Germany and Brazil are showing some imagination in their use of this ‘crisis du jour’ at the United Nations. See, every government on earth wants desperately to control the Internet and resents the fact that it’s largely in the U.S. where they can’t reach it. The U.S. government is no less interested in that for itself but to date, has been held off by public pressure. Now the Prez has handed the Germans/Brazil a ticket to request the U.N. assert jurisdiction over the Internet to set standards (regulate) protecting all the poor victims of evil NSA. The U.S. wants regulation, but not by the U.N.
So routine international business as usual by spies went off track by being reported and is being used to get political control of the Internet. Like China has accomplished by constructing its own, highly censored internal facilities and locking all but a few Chinese out of the international net.
This seems to leave our Prez in an interesting pickle; he has made a few stabs at getting control of the net without success to date. He wants control but not at the cost of involving the U.N. Will he stand up fro a free internet to hold off the U.N? That will interfere with his own push for Internet power. What to do? This might become interesting.