The Internet is starting to be used by dictators to control the people and Google is not oblivious to this.“What’s happening in the last year is the governments have figured out you don’t turn off the internet; you infiltrate it,” said Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt.
According to The Guardian, the statement was made during the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.
Schmidt went one step further and said that the new model for a dictator is to infiltrate and try to manipulate the Internet, something that’s been obvious so far in countries such as China.
The statement is quite important, especially when considering the current international context, with street protests in several countries and conflicts that have become the center of attention in the entire world.
Most often, the Internet has played an important role in these uprisings, including in Ukraine, Venezuela, Turkey and Egypt. On most of these occasions, the leading powers in the countries have tried to interfere with the freedom of the Internet, blocking off social media and other tools often used by protesters.
“We’re very enthusiastic about the empowerment of mobile phones and connectivity, especially for people who don’t have it. In the book, we actually say that revolutions are going to be easier to start, but harder to finish,” said Schmidt, referring to a book he co-wrote with Jared Cohen on the way the new digital age is reshaping the future.
It should also be noted that Google and Eric Schmidt have had a strong reaction to the NSA scandal in this past few months, asking for the increase of transparency from the government and upgrading network security by implementing SSL encryption by default to protect users.
“The solution to this is to encrypt data at multiple points of source. We had already been doing this, but we accelerated our activities,” Schmidt said. “We’re pretty sure right now that the information that’s inside of Google is safe from any government’s prying eyes, including the US government’s. We were attacked by the Chinese in 2010, we were attacked by the NSA in 2013. These are facts,” the Google chairman said.
Schmidt has also said in the past that encryption is the key to ending Internet censorship that happens in countries such as China, where the Great Firewall blocks off a lot of websites as the government seeks to purge the Internet of content that is unfavorable to them and to limit the people’s access to information.