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Schmidt calls China's attempts to take over internet 'egregious'

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Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has told an audience in India that China is the worst example of a nation trying to take over and censor the internet.

"As the internet has emerged in many of these different countries, there's quite a few countries that have no laws that pertain to the internet at all and those internets tend to be free and open with almost anything goes," he told the Big Tent Activate Summit in New Delhi, The Guardian reports.

"There are other governments that try very dramatically to censor or control the internet, with China being the most egregious example."

He highlighted the recent hacking attack on The New York Times, which has been linked to Chinese hackers, and said that if information gleaned from it was used to identify dissidents speaking against the government then those people would end up in a prison camp.

"These are some of the problems that happen when everyone's connected ... My point here is that this [ability to intrude on privacy] is going to happen because the value of the internet is so profound and positive, but we've got to recognize the issues and get ahead of it by discussion."

According to Schmidt his recent visit to North Korea was all about trying to open that country up to the internet. He is also due to visit the military junta in Myanmar with a similar message, although given that regime's predilections for repressing its citizens he's likely to get a cold shoulder.

Some might say that Schmidt is hardly the best person to be lecturing about privacy. He famously blew a fuse and banned one publication from Google events after it used the Chocolate Factory's search engine to find and publish lots of his personal data.

Over his Google career he has also suggested people troubled by Streetview should just move house (although later retracted that), that people only worry about privacy if they've done something wrong, and his chilling "We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about," comment.

While it's good to have internet privacy on the agenda, this El Reg hack would like a slightly more reliable champion, please. ®

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