Eric Schmidt Says Government Surveillance Is Just Part of Our Society

Illustration for article titled Eric Schmidt Says Government Surveillance Is Just Part of Our Society

Since the whole PRISM thing blew up, and dozens of other Snowden revelations followed it, there's been a lot of talk about government spying—foreign stuff and domestic survellience—and what these revelations mean. According to Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt, not much; this is just part of our society now.


In an event hosted by the New America Foundation foundation yesterday, Schmidt acknowledged that it's good to have conversations about what the government is doing. But as whether or not what the government is currently doing is OK, well, he's not going to judge. From the Guardian:

There's been spying for years, there's been surveillance for years, and so forth, I'm not going to pass judgement on that, it's the nature of our society.

He's certainly not wrong about both spying and surveillance being pervasive. In its own way, Google is founded on (consensual) surveillance. Still, that's not to say Schmidt doesn't have any worries about all this jazz. They just lie elsewhere.

The real danger [from] the publicity about all of this is that other countries will begin to put very serious encryption – we use the term 'balkanization' in general – to essentially split the internet and that the internet's going to be much more country specific. That would be a very bad thing, it would really break the way the internet works, and I think that's what I worry about.

It's a valid concern. It just comes down to whether the problem is what the NSA is doing, or the frenzied talk around it. But neither of those is likely to change any time soon. [The Guardian]


So if I read this correctly, Mr. Schmidt is less worried about survelence of internet traffic (essentially an issue for users) and more worried about potential barriers to border-less pathways (an issue for companies like Google).