Eric Schmidt Says Government Surveillance Is Just Part Of Our Society

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 surveillance -- and what these revelations mean. According to Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt, not much; this is just part of our society now.

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]



    This is what really gets me about things like the Snowden incident etc. Did people really think the government wasn't spying on them? Snowden is now in Russia. Do people really think Russia doesn't spy on everything they can either?

    People were so outraged and alarmed, are we all the naive?

      It's not that we didn't know. It's the fact that the governments announce democratic freedom and privacy to it's citizens which is part of the constitution. What they are doing is against the law (as per the news agencies phone tapping) and with the Snowden incidence there is now evidence and hence the governments must be held accountable for breaking the law. So it's not that we didn't know it's that we didn't have evidence.

      In some ways people are naive, but it's told us a lot about the extent of the spying- US government consultants who were working and advising on encryption and security standards for the web were undermining them and working in backdoors. That was a pretty massive revelation that shocked people at all levels of expertise.
      Maybe this will lead to a balkanisation of the web but it's not Snowden's fault- the US government acted stupidly and in bad faith, the fact of which would have come out eventually anyway; it's that which will lead to problems.

      -It's not just the actual spying that's the main issue there, it's the fact that these important security protocols which are essential for global commerce have all been intentionally weakened and made full of exploits. That's a huge worry from two directions: Criminals will have an easier to breaking into those protocols, and the US government isn't to be trusted since they've demonstrated time and again that their laws and protections only extend to US citizens and no further. (even for citizens it's malleable).

      Last edited 16/09/13 1:38 pm

    Surveillance Is Just Part Of Our Society

    And has been since forever.

    The methods of surveilling have changed, not the fact that it happens.

      The extent and size of it has changed. And that is a problem.

    It's part of our society because of the nefarious few. We just need to get rid of those few and then we'll be sweet.

    This doesn't mean we should allow it to happen to the level of abuse like america.

    That's what they said in East Germany Eric.

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