Google chairman Eric Schmidt talks privacy, censorship at Paley Center

Google chairman Eric Schmidt speaks to Pelle Tornberg, owne of Seabay Capitol.  Credit: Michael Priest Photography for the Paley Center
Google chairman Eric Schmidt speaks to Pelle Tornberg, owner of Seabay Capitol.
Credit: Michael Priest Photography for the Paley Center

Google chairman Eric Schmidt offered insight on controversial topics dominating headlines at Paley Center’s International Council Summit Friday, including the NSA, China and Internet censorship.

During a conversation with Pelle Törnberg, owner of Seabay Capital, Schmidt discussed highlights from his new book, “The New Digital Age.” He predicted a revolution in China within a decade, sparked by the massive amount of Internet users within the country.

“There are 600 million users of the Internet in China. There are more than 400 million smart phones being sold in China in the next year. There are two networks, WeChat and Weibo, each of which have between 280 and 400 million users,” Schmidt explained. “The government is obsessed about these networks.”

“Somewhere in the next decade, that sense of community moves,” he said. “And it moves in a way that the government can’t fix. It’s some form of a statement of  ‘we want some rights.’ And in that decade, they can’t control it because there are just too many Chinese people to put in jail.”

On the subject of government surveillance, Schmidt said Google’s position is one of outrage.

“One of the great things about America is that it’s okay to complain about this in public, and we are doing so,” he said.

He later added, “You need to fight for your privacy or you will lose it.”


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