They may well be heads of one hugely competitive rival companies, but Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Eric Schmidt do agree on some things.
The two are leading a group of internet pioneers to the G8 government meetings being held in France to discuss matters such as internet regulation, privacy and copyright issues. This comes after the ‘e-G8’ discussions held earlier this week which had the blessing of French president Nicholas Sarkozy – however world leaders are under no obligation to listen to what the delegation recommend.
Both Zuckerberg and Schmidt have spoken out against talks of government regulation of the internet, warning it would be a bad idea. Zuckerberg brought up the recent Arab uprising which were praised for their use of the internet to arrange protests and other action, saying “People tell me on the one hand ‘It’s great you played such a big role in the Arab spring, but it’s also kind of scary because you enable all this sharing and collect information on people’, But it’s hard to have one without the other, You can’t isolate some things you like about the internet and control other things that you don’t”.
Schmidt echoed these comments warning that “Technology will move faster than governments, so don’t legislate before you understand the consequences”.
So it seems that despite their differences, criticisms, and the recent Facebook/Google smear campaign scandal, they can find common ground in the fact that they – rightly – want the internet to remain the playground of free speech, away from regulation of governments.
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