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Don't trust governments says Google boss

Google supremo Eric Schmidt has suggested that governments are the biggest threat to internet freedom. In a speech at London’s Science Museum, he warned that the next 10 years could be crucial for the future freedom of the net.

"While threats come from individuals and even groups of people," he said, "the biggest problem will be activities stemming from nations that seek to do harm. It is very difficult to identify the source of cyber-criminality and stop it."

He was speaking at an event launching an initiative to encourage the teaching of computer science in UK schools. In 2011 Schmidt was highly critical of the UK’s shortfall in computer science teaching, with only 4000 students taking the subject, and stressed the importance of developing a tech-literate generation to drive industry and innovation. Google has offered funds to train specialist teachers and provide state-of-the-art teaching materials.

"Put simply, technology breakthroughs can't happen without the scientists and engineers to make them," he said. "The challenge society faces is to equip enough people, with the right skills and mindset, and to get them to work on the most important problems."

He also warned of the dangers of governments using filters and censorship to restrict access to information. The internet offered enormous access to news, but there was a danger that this could be warped and manipulated by states for their own interests. "Make no mistake, this is a fight for the future of the web, and there is no room for complacency," he said.

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