Eric Schmidt didn't see router-level censorship coming, and has worries

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, in an interview with The New Yorker's Ken Auletta, said he never anticipated router-level information restrictions and said he's concerned.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, in an interview with The New Yorker's Ken Auletta, said he never anticipated router-level information restrictions and said he's concerned.

"I had never appreciated that governments would see the internet as so important that they would begin to block it at the router level, so I worry about that," Schmidt said.

Schmidt did not name specific countries, but the type of blocking, including that of Google's YouTube, applies directly to China. He also said that Google talks to governments about what they're blocking and tries to convince them that offending content is not representative of the whole that's being obscured by the block.

Since this post is essentially a tiny extraction from a long interview, I wanted to give you the full context at least of this particular question. I don't have time to type the whole interview:

Auletta: Do you worry about government?

Schmidt: Only in the sense that they ultimately have the power to-- Governments can affect the internet in some remarkable ways.

People have talked-- For example, there are a number of governments that ban various forms of Google. YouTube is periodically banned by this country or-- I can never remember which countries are banning YouTube at any given time for whatever reason. And then we go and then we talk to them and we explain that yes that video, you know you didn't like that video and you know it's not legal here but that's one video and there's how many other videos and so on, and then people pressure them and they unblock it. So that's an example.

I had never appreciated that governments would see the internet as so important that they would begin to block it at the router level, so I worry about that.

I think the issues of privacy and competition that we're talking about now, at least the western governments that we deal with understand the balance pretty well. We've been able to navigate that, as have other internet companies.

Check out the full interview at The New Yorker's site.

About the author

    Formerly a journalist and consultant in Beijing, Graham Webster is a graduate student studying East Asia at Harvard University. At Sinobyte, he follows the effects of technology on Chinese politics, the environment, and global affairs. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments