If Al Gore goes down in history as the man who gave us the Internet, Barack Obama may become known as the President who lost it for us.Amid the continuing outrage over U.S. spying practices, countries around the world are doing what they can to curb Washington’s digital capabilities. Yesterday, EU leaders issued a policy paper laying out a timetable for reducing American influence over the governance of the Internet, citing the NSA spying scandal as a justification for doing so:
“Large-scale surveillance and intelligence activities have … led to a loss of confidence in the Internet and its present governance arrangements.” (WSJ)
The implications of these proposed changes, as well as Europe’s ability to implement them, remain vague. What is abundantly clear, however, is that the overreach and poor management of security programs under President Obama’s watch have inflicted serious harm on our relationships with some of our closest allies.This is not only bad news; it is also deeply ironic. This was supposed to be the administration that mended ties and restored America’s image around the world. Instead, opposition to U.S. leadership on important policy portfolios is galvanizing around the world. As the Wall Street Journal noted:
By pushing for less U.S. control of the Internet, the European Commission is aligning itself in some ways with Brazil, which has struck a particularly strident tone over Internet governance in the wake of news reports alleging the U.S. government spied on Brazilians, including President Dilma Rousseff. The country has called for more international control, and is hosting a conference on the future of Internet governance in April.
Here in the United States the MSM still sings hymns of praise to Obama, our long-awaited second Lincoln, the supposed no-drama genius in the Oval Office. History will not be so kind.