Eric Schmidt: Which Internet Will India Choose – Free or Censored

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Eric Schmidt is on a pan-Asia tour to promote internet freedom and now has a special focus on India. In the Times of India this morning, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt published an article that calls for a free and open Web on the subcontinent.

In his article, Schmidt talks about the opportunity that faces India, the world’s largest democracy.

“Now is the moment for India to decide what kind of internet it wants for them: an open internet that benefits all or a highly regulated one that inhibits innovation,” he wrote.

Internet censorship is a hot issue now in India as the government is trying more and more to control the internet in India by regulating content that they feel is unsuitable or inflammatory. India is a young country with more than 60% of its population under the age of 30. We need freedom of the internet to flourish.

“In 10 years, it will be almost impossible to describe to any child in India what life was like before the internet,” Schmidt wrote. “Only about two billion of the world’s seven billion people have an internet connection, and I believe the remaining five billion will get one in the next decade. Almost one billion of them will come online in India.”

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“The most striking Indian internet innovations won’t come from big institutions or companies moving online, however,” he said. “They will come from Indians solving local problems. We know that India’s internet infrastructure allows Indian engineers to solve the problems of small businesses in other countries. If India plays its cards right, we’ll soon see Indian engineers and Indian small businesses tackling Indian problems first, then exporting the solutions that work best.”

Recently, there have been many cases where the Indian Government has asked Google and Facebook to take down links and posts that seem to be of provocative nature. There have been many protests as well trying to stop this attitude of the government.

Instead of trying to control the internet using different policies, the government needs to focus on giving every Indian the best shot at using the internet to make his or her country even better. They should leverage the power of the internet to make the country better.