During a lecture at Johns Hopkins University this week, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt offered some good news for people around the world concerned about government censorship of the Internet. The tech expert said that advances in encryption could eliminate the threat within 10 years.
“I believe there’s a real chance that we can eliminate censorship and the possibility of censorship in a decade,” Schmidt said.
“First they try to block you; second, they try to infiltrate you; and third, you win,” he said. “I really think that’s how it works. Because the power is shifted.”
Schmidt, who recently made a trip to the Internet void of North Korea told the audience of the vast power a country with complete censorship ability can have over its people. But he thinks encryption could even be the answer to bringing new ideas to the citizens of harsh totalitarian regimes.
“My view is that if we can get some connectivity, then they’ll begin to open the country, they’ll begin to understand other systems,” he said.
Even as the United States is embroiled in its own scandal about spying on Americans’ Internet usage, Schmidt said he is confident that populations will continue to come up with ways to thwart government snoops and censors by creating new networks that authorities have a more difficult time penetrating.
“It’s pretty clear to me that government surveillance and the way in which governments are doing this will be here to stay in some form, because it’s how the citizens will express themselves, and the governments will want to know what they’re doing,” Schmidt said. “In that race, I think the censors will lose, and I think that people would be empowered.”