Google may be battling a federal antitrust probe and questions over its privacy policies, but that's not what Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt wanted to talk about Wednesday night. Schmidt went big-picture in his keynote speech at the National Press Foundation's annual awards dinner.
Schmidt didn't mention the controversy over the changes Google recently made to its privacy practices or the Federal Trade Commission's ongoing antitrust probe of Google. Instead, Schmidt discussed how technology will affect different populations around the world. "The Internet is not a Utopia. It reflects the good and bad," he said.
He warned of the continuing attempts by governments to filter the Internet to control the information their citizens can access. Google joined a coalition of tech groups and Internet activists in opposing U.S. anti-piracy legislation that originally would have required Internet service providers to cut off foreign websites that offer pirated content or counterfeit goods. The legislation was shelved in January after a monster protest from thousands of websites including Google and Wikipedia, which blocked out part or all of their sites.
While countries will increasingly look for ways to suppress information they don't like, Schmidt said he believes technology "will ultimately be a force for good." And despite attempts by countries such as China to censor the Internet, he said there will always be cracks in the system.