Eric Schmidt: IDF trains great computer people

Google chairman Eric Schmidt spoke at the Google Big Tent conference in Tel Aviv, on his first visit to Israel.

The IDF trains a great generation of computer people who full understand data analysis, Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt said at the Google Big Tent conference in Tel Aviv, on his first visit to Israel.

"The dictators in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia were old men who did not understand the internet." He added, "Shutting down the internet in Arab countries was a step too far. When the government silences the internet for its people, it's a sign that it is scared."

"The internet gave people who had fought for years a tool they previously lacked. In Libya, they tried to oust Qaddafi for years, and many people were killed on the way, but by using the internet they were able to organize into a real protest," Schmidt said, adding, "It was not a technology company that enabled these protests, but the sacrifice of people, people who fought for their freedom to death. We are now seeing this in Syria."

Noting that the price of telephones is steadily falling and a person with a simple telephone now will be able to afford a smartphone in the future. In the same breath, he added, "Android devices in Israel are much more expensive than overseas, god knows why."

Commenting on Wikileaks, Schmidt said it disclosed thousands of secret documents about US-Israeli relations, among other subjects. "We were happy to create links to these documents, because that is what we do. We saw no problem in allowing readers to read this information."

Asked if he had he received a call from his good friend, US President Barack Obama to remove the Wikileaks documents from Google results, Schmidt said, "Such a call never came, but had we surrendered to such a request, we would have lost all our credibility because everything would ultimately leak out."

Commenting on censorship in China, which prompted Google to leave the country after several years of activity, Schmidt said, "One of the problems with censorship is that you always have to be suspicious that there is a piece of information that you don’t know that you should not know about. This makes you paranoid. It's a bad way to live. When we entered China, we believed that the best strategy was to try and work with people and show them the value of openness. After five years, I can tell you that this didn’t work because the government used censorship and became worse."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 19, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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