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Global censorship could end in a decade says Google boss

Eric Schmidt believes that better encryption methods will help prevent governments from restricting freedom of expression.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt stands near a statue of the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung during his time in North Korea.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt stands near a statue of the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung during his time in North Korea.
Image: AP Photo/David Guttenfelder

BETTER USE OF encryption – which will help protect internet traffic – could mean that government censorship will end within a decade, according to Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt

Speaking at a lecture at John Hopkins University in Washington, Schmidt described a potential future where people would communicate through private channels shielded by encryption, and can only be decoded with a special digital key.

When talking about government surveillance, Schmidt said:

First they try to block you; second, they try to infiltrate you; and third, you win. I really think that’s how it works. Because the power is shifted… I believe there’s a real chance that we can eliminate censorship and the possibility of censorship in a decade.

He also described the relationship between internet users and their governments saying:

It’s always a cat-and-mouse game… In that race, I think the censors will lose and I think the people will be empowered.”

Schmidt has previously spoken out against spying and restricted internet access around the world. After Google filed complaints against the US government, Schmidt said that the reports that the company was spied on were, if true, “outrageous… and perhaps illegal”.

Google is one of the major technology companies caught in the controversy surrounding the US government’s spying activities. It was revealed that it had secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Google and Yahoo data centers around the world, allowing it to potentially collect data from hundreds of millions of accounts.

Read: Google boss says US data spying “outrageous” and potentially illegal >

Read: Google to block some child sexual abuse search results >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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