Internet keeps government honest: Google chief

Broader adoption of the Internet will keep governments on their toes as wired-up citizens exercise their newfound powers
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google Inc., speaks at the CEO Summit during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Honolulu, Hawaii, on November 12. Broader adoption of the Internet will keep governments on their toes as wired-up citizens exercise their newfound power to check rights abuses, Google chief Eric Schmidt said on Saturday.

Broader adoption of the Internet will keep governments on their toes as wired-up citizens exercise their newfound power to check rights abuses, Google chief Eric Schmidt said on Saturday.

"In nations and communities around the world, citizens are turning to online tools to keep their governments honest," he told on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation () forum in Honolulu.

"Whistleblowing has never been so easy," he said.

Schmidt cited demonstrations that toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt in which activists used Facebook to schedule protests, Twitter to coordinate them and YouTube to broadcast the events to the world.

"Online citizens can find like-minded allies, they can find like-minded diasporas from a country," he said.

With 52 percent of the under the age of 30, the youth can have a bigger say on issues because they are the most prolific users of the Internet.

"They are the ones who are online, that's how you reach them, that's how they talk to each other. They share applications and proxy and circumvention tools and help magnify each others' causes," he said.

But while governments should not ignore online protests, Schmidt also warned that they could be exaggerated.

"It's easy in the online world to create the impression of a revolution in the form of noise. It's important to understand what is a legitimate protest and whether it's just people trying to create some noise... some excitement."

Greater adoption of the Internet will lead to the creation of two global systems -- the physical sphere where the government has power over its people and a where people can have more influence, he said.

And there's little place to hide for those who do bad.

Atrocities against citizens can be documented more easily and "we can start trials against evil-doers before (their acts are) even stopped," he said.

"There are no caves online."

With only an estimated two billion of the global population of seven billion online, there is still room for expansion, Schmidt said.


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Citation: Internet keeps government honest: Google chief (2011, November 13) retrieved 18 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-11-internet-honest-google-chief.html
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Nov 13, 2011
with a little help from Wikileaks, et al

Nov 13, 2011
Especially with Wikileaks. ;)

Nov 13, 2011
What is Google doing to keep China's govt honest?

The concept was noted in the book "Sovereign Individual" many years ago.

Nov 13, 2011
"The Sovereign Individual" predicts the internet will free individuals from state power. Networked communications will force nation-states to compete for the sovereign individuals by providing incentives for them to live in their state. The Swiss at one time attracted the wealthy with an annual fixed fee instead of tax rates.
Sweden eliminated its wealth tax to attract wealthy individuals who can live anywhere.
Of course those invested in political power will vigorously oppose weakening state power. We are witnessing this in may nation-states today by those made state dependents protesting and engaging in violent acts. These useful idiots are empowering those who keep them dependent.

Nov 13, 2011
Who's keeping Google honest?

Nov 13, 2011
google is the government. they have partnered with the nsa. there is no question the nsa has total access to all google information.

google is the nsa. google is the nsa google is the nsa.

meanwhile, the internet is keeping the government honest. yea.

Nov 13, 2011
actually, the only honesty in the internet is that which your government allows you to have.
a prime example is china. the government have an army of internet watch dogs to make sure their own population only see what the government wants them to see..
with increasing unrest amongst the populace, expect to see more censorship and less open government in the future..

Nov 13, 2011
actually, the only honesty in the internet is that which your government allows you to have.
a prime example is china. the government have an army of internet watch dogs

Individuals underestimate their power.
One shepherd can control a flock of sheep but not a herd of cats or pigs.
The state is losing control over information and therefore less control over individuals. So what if NSA is listening. Its job is national defense and has limited resources.
When a country has a prospering free market economy, who wants to work for the govt spying on their neighbor?

Nov 13, 2011
"Nevertheless, a large proportion of the winners were companies with Obama-campaign connections. Indeed, at least 10 members of Obamas finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers were big winners in getting your money. At the same time, several politicians who supported Obama managed to strike gold by launching alternative-energy companies and obtaining grants. How much did they get? According to the Department of Energys own numbers ... a lot. In the 1705 government-backed-loan program, for example, $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backersindividuals who were bundlers, members of Obamas National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party."
http://www.thedai...aft.html
If not for internet competition, would Newsweek be reporting such news about Obama?

Nov 13, 2011
And, of course, with the internet, anyone can find data from the FEC about campaign donors. Assuming the govt is accurate.
http://www.newsme...midt.php
http://www.newsme...rank.php

Nov 13, 2011
It's not surprising that Obama found ways to benefit his campaign donors, but it would be naive to not consider that the same must have happened with previous USA presidents. (In fact, we can easily extend that to presidents all over the World.)

Bush benefited the War lobby immensely, but in this case you're getting solar panels. Without dismissing the corruption, of course, it's still not as bad since it doesn't kill as many people.

I have a wild idea, so I'm just gonna throw it out there: End campaign donations, and finance the campaigns 100% with public money. Crazy? Consider this -- for each $1000 of donated money, the public loses $10 000 or $100 000 in bad decisions made to repay it. So it would actually make economic sense, in the long term at least.

And politicians can stop appeasing economic powers for campaign money and start doing other things. If they run out of silly things to do, it might just happen that they'll actually do something productive for once :)

Nov 14, 2011
The internet is under constant attack by those that seek to control it. Keeping the internet as a viable tool for the common person to give voice has been anything but easy.

Nov 14, 2011
Who's keeping Google honest?

Google isn't the interent.

But I don't really agree with the article in that the interenet keeps governments honest (at least I see no indication of this). It only forces governments to play their hands and openly deploy information suppression methods - which merely makes it obvious which governments are willing to censor the internet (basically all of them).

Any debate about such 'oversight' in a law-making body should give one pause.

Nov 14, 2011
it would be naive to not consider that the same must have happened with previous USA presidents.

Obama claimed to be better and was not going to be THAT kind of president.

BTW, the transistor was developed by Bell Labs, for commercial applications, but the research behind that has a long history from JJ Thomsson and tubes to semi-conductor diodes. How was the govt instrumental here?
The internet was created for the specific purpose of ensuring communications to nuclear weapons silos after a first strike and was developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory for the Dept of Defense.
Commercialization, and improvements, were performed by private enterprise for profit.

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