Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, believes Russia might follow China in censoring the Internet.
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Schmidt said he was worried Russia is “on the path” of copying China, which he called “the only country with active, dynamic censorship of the Internet.” Until now, he said, the Russian Internet has been “very open, which has benefited Russian society.”
He also said over 44 countries have “one form or another of filtering or censorship” of both the Internet and YouTube, which Google owns; the latter is in fact blocked by Pakistan today.
Schmidt predicted that in the next decade there will be “some form” of revolution in China, where he said there are now 600 million Internet users (more than in the United States) and use by hundreds of millions of people of networks WeChat and Weibo, which he described as a combination of Facebook and Twitter. He also said over 400 million smartphones will be sold in China in the next year.
He predicted this wired community will eventually move in a way “the government can’t fix,” demanding rights, complaining about their children being poisoned by pollution. He said the government will not be able to control these protests, because “there are too many Chinese people to put in jail.”
He compared this potential popular uprising in China to the growing acceptance of gay rights in the United States. “Finally it happened” because the middle class decided “it was the right thing. You could not have stopped that if you were an American political leader, it just happened,” he said.
Schmidt also said Google would not move its servers out of the United States, though it believes a move could be “attractive,” and it is “outraged” by NSA surveillance activities, including internal monitoring of traffic between Google’s servers. “One of the great things about America is it’s OK to complain about this in public, and we’re doing so,” he said.
He said Google had filed the “necessary legal documents” in the secret court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. “We actually don’t want the details released, but we want Americans to know what the extent of this is,” he said.
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