Google's Eric Schmidt claims it will be impossible for regimes to censor the Internet in next decade

Google executive chairman, Eric Schmidt has claimed that within a decade it will be impossible for tough regimes to shut down the Internet as a result of developments being produced to prevent such censorship.

Speaking alongside Jared Cohen, Google's director of ideas, Schmidt said that they believed that online censorship would become progressively more difficult for regimes such as Russia, North Korea or Iran, described as balkanisation.

He admitted that the search giant was worried about countries attempting to delete references to events online, and said that it was better for nations to know other people's points of view.

"It's our core belief that people are good and that giving them information empowers them to understand the strengths and limits of the people around them. Inserting doubt in a North Korean person's mind will help them understand that it is time for a new regime or a new approach in North Korea and if you stop that, you are doing a tremendous miservice to the people," he stated. "We are very worried that Balkanisation will occur, but that it will occur gradually in such a way that people don't notice it."

He added that, in order to introduce legislation to remove online content, countries, such as Russia, had introduced child protection laws, which allows arbitrary takedowns of videos.

"I was shocked when I studied the knowledge and understanding of Russian children that eight, nine and ten year olds were so concerned about opposition research speech. It's amazing how smart those Russian children are," he said sarcastically. "American children are busy playing games. There's something strange or at least duplicitous about starting from something on which we all agree and then using it for other purposes."

Cohen explained that future online censorship was likely to be difficult and explained the reasons for being optimistic; "We've never come into contact with someone who aspires to connect to a heavily censored Internet. It's just counterintuitive to what people want...the more autocratic the country, the more online identities its citizens have," he claimed.

Schmidt pinpointed Iran, which has openly announced its plan to separate from the Internet and introduce its own policed version accessed inside the country alone.

"We've looked at this, and there are a number of companies here at SXSW that are working on encryption tools that are likely to make it impossible for them to do the kind of Balkanisation, at least for the hard censorship regimes. The quality of the ability to evade those systems is going to be improving and it is going to reach the point where we would both say that it will be impossible for Governments to shut that down. They will have to come up with other ways to shut that down."

Schmidt also went onto to reveal the company's concern and lack of an answer to the robotisation problem of machines taking jobs away from people, but went to to state that he still believed in the importance of higher education.

Later, when asked about Google's 'poking' of the National Security Authority and its fighting back against the data mining project, revealed last year by another SXSW keynote this year, whistleblower Edward Snowden, he said that the company was simply "trying to keep them legal."

"We didn't have a choice," he explained. "We're not trying to annoy them, but we are trying to keep them honest and legal and I worry hat without oversight and without people watching things, misuse can occur...I am very proud of Google's response here...they don't call and ask our permission for things."

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