18 January 2018, Thursday, 8:59

Google's executive chairman puts Belarus on par with Zimbabwe and North Korea


Rogue states want to know who hides behind each account on the Internet.

The tendency may grow further and spread to other countries, writes Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt in his book “The New Digital Age” co-written with Google Ideas chief Jared Cohen. The Wall Street Journal publishes extracts from the book.

“States like Belarus, Eritrea, Zimbabwe and North Korea — authoritarian, with strong personality cults and a pariah status elsewhere in the world — would have little to lose by joining an autocratic cyber union, where censorship and monitoring strategies and technologies could be shared,” Eric Schmidt thinks.

The authors also suppose that many governments will not tolerate anonymity on the Internet.

“Some governments will consider it too risky to have thousands of anonymous, untraceable and unverified citizens — “hidden people”; they’ll want to know who is associated with each online account, and will require verification at a state level, in order to exert control over the virtual world.

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance,” Eric Schmidt writes.