Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, says that between Facebook and cloud computing, “your digital identity will live forever.” Schmidt and his co-author, Jared Cohen, join us in the studio to talk about their book “The New Digital Age,” which explores how online connectivity is changing censorship, privacy, and activism in countries like Mexico, China, and North Korea, and elsewhere around the world.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, and co-author of "The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business"
Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, and co-author of "The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business"

  • thucy

    I think we can all maintain a reasonable level of classical skepticism when the new Schmidt book (co-written by Cohen, who was advisor to Condoleeza Rice – yes, that Condoleeza Rice) comes covered in happy blurbs from the likes of Kissinger and Tony “the poodle” Blair. With such powerfully corrupt people behind Google, something tells me no one is going to bring up Bill de Blasio’s campaign to force Google to disclose its political donations. Or the fact that the FTC fine of $22 million, the largest in the commission’s history, was more an annoyance to Google than a deterrent to further malfeasance.
    How much has Google given to KQED and other media sources big and small – and what did it buy them? How much has Google skirted taxes? Why is there an entire page on wikipedia devoted to Google’s malfeasance? Why is the attempt to get Google to disclose its political donations coming from the New York public advocate, Bill de Blasio, and not from sources “closer to home” – like Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein? Is Feinstein also “captured” by Google?
    Finally, how much you want to bet no one asks these questions on air? You don’t bite the hand that feeds you – and at KQED, you don’t even dare to lick it.

  • thucy

    New York Public Advocate Bill de Blasio challenges Google to disclose political spending – will KQED even ask?

  • Winston

    Schmidt has a vested interest in the death of privacy. As a Google executive, he knows that his company profits by selling users’ personal data to advertisers. NPR’s Andy Carvin reported that Schmidt admitted that Google Plus has the purpose of collecting and conveying users’ data unto advertisers, which Google Mail already does. Schmidt insists that Google’s violation of customers’ privacy also requires that users give their real name, which is outrageous and compounds the betrayal. Due to the “real name” policy, Google Plus cannot be used by political dissidents who may want to loosen the grip of regimes in police states such as North Korea, China, or increasingly some say the USA. Knowing that war criminals Henry Kissinger and Condy Rice are Schmidt’s pals tells you what gang he belongs to: the neoconservatives, who are de facto fascists.
    (Kissinger was behind Operation Condor, which funded death squads in South America.

    • Bob Fry

      Let’s imagine a USA where privacy is protected…but corporations continue to buy politicians at all levels and our democracy continues to be an illusion. An unpleasant society indeed. Or, imagine a USA where there is little privacy but corporations have been tamed and politicians actually enact policy for the citizenry. I’d rather have that society.

      The point of these thought experiments is to show that privacy is not as important as other issues that Google is also an offender.

      • thucy

        You’re missing the point entirely, Bob.
        Right now you have privacy for those with enormous power (e.g. Google with regard to political donations AND political activity) and the privacy of ordinary people obliterated by Google.
        So both of the scenarios you presented are bogus.

  • Gary Kay

    Remembering life as it was in the 50s and 60s, and comparing it with today, the “wonderful” tomorrow sounds quite nightmarish. What I’m driving at is, if you really believe that change and improvement are synonymous, then you are in for a very rude shock in the future.

    “Your digital identity will live forever?” I hate to disappoint you, but that sure ain’t eternal life.

    Being remembered as a blip on a radar screen. ROFL

    • Chris OConnell

      I agree. All this computing “progress” seems more likely to lead to a dystopic future. The vision is not one of lush hillsides and flowing streams, singing birds and teeming lakes. It is a screen everywhere, nature destroyed, humans oblivious to it, lost with their heads in their hands.

    • Bob Fry

      Life as it was in the 50s and 60s. Oh yeah, under constant threat of all-out nuclear war (my father had a temp job for a while guarding a Nike anti-aircraft missile silo near Chico), the certainty of the draft and possibility of death in the Korean and Vietnam wars for men, apartheid for non-whites, leaded gasoline and paints, DDT sprayed with abandon, etc etc etc. You guys sound like tea-baggers, yearning for the good ol’ days.

      Who cares if a digital identity lives forever. Personally I like being able, for instance, to have Google Now learn a few simple habits of mine. Privacy was culturally a 1-minute blip in the long history of humankind.

      • thucy

        Bob, why is it either/or?
        I’m not nostalgic for the good old days, on the other hand, that doesn’t propel me blindly into the future.
        You cite 1950s America “apartheid” – have you not noticed that we now have more African-Americans in prison – mostly on bogus drug charges – than were enslaved in 1850 – ten years before the Civil war began? Are you unaware of how this drug war has torn entire black communities to shreds? Add in outsourcing of jobs and… it’s arguably worse than the ’50s.
        You have to live in a very elite world to remain blind to the reality that for every progression, there’s been a regression.

      • thucy

        “Privacy was culturally a 1-minute blip in the long history of humankind.”

        Really? How are you supporting that statement?

        • Chris OConnell

          I support privacy rights and find them fundamental to human existence. But I think he is referring to the idea that before modernity, before the western Enlightenment of the late 17th Century, there was no concept of reality of privacy.

          • thucy

            Sorry, but the notion that privacy is exclusively modern or western runs counter to an awful lot Chinese and Japanese literature, and ancient Greek and Roman texts.

  • Chris OConnell

    It seems like for a long time, Google was able to keep somewhat true to their famous slogan, “Don’t be evil.” But that was yesterday, there’s a brand new sham today.

    At this point, with their mechanical but voracious conquest of information, they are such a global corporate behemoth that they can’t help but be corporate, efficient, and cold. While this may or may not be evil it is certainly amoral.

  • thucy

    Schmidt just said there will be no privacy, but he is claiming great privacy regarding Google’s political donations.
    Will KQED broach this topic?
    Will KQED tell us how much they have accepted from Google?
    Privacy for Google, but no privacy for those they exploit.

  • Ehkzu

    CEO Schmidt slipped in a pitch for using the Google Chrome web browser. It is fast and efficient, but I stopped using it recently because unlike the other major browsers, Chrome now bombards users with pop-under ads that none of the ad blockers can stop. I don’t have this problem with Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Internet Explorer. I guess “Don’t be evil” is yesterday’s news.

  • William – SF

    My opinion is that removing or controlling references to ones identity is not a technological hurdle, it’s thwarted by commercial interests of the digital glitterati – Facebook, Google, etc.

    To your guests: Is removing or controlling references to ones identity a technological hurdle? If not, why isn’t it available.

    (Steven Cobert interviewed two guys from a company that have an app that provides photos/messages for 10 seconds and then are automatically deleted – everywhere on the Internet.)

  • Ljh

    Michael, Enough with the extended info-mercial. These guys apparently can’t say anything without promoting some great product, company, or school. Give us a break! Not what we subscribe for.

    LeRoy in Berkeley

  • white elephant

    You say, it is the law and we follow the law, but what you do not say, is that you and international corporations with your HUGE profits, lobby the lawmakers to make the law that benefit you, not the citizens of this country. How much taxes have you paid to our country in the past 5 years and how much profit did you make?

    Mr. CEO, principles you run by is to defend your corporate interest. Corporations are not people. People’s interest does not align with what you are doing under the protect of the law your corporations helped put in place.

    hear :

    The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was a sweeping legislative package designed to prevent another financial collapse. Journalist Gary Rivlin says passing the bill was just a first step in a long road to real reform, and the financial system is as vulnerable to disaster it was in 2008.

  • Chris OConnell

    Congress members don’t spend at least 1/3 of their time calling their constituents to get their votes. No, they spend this time calling wealthy people to get their money. But the sophisticated Eric Schmidt is all of a sudden so simple in claiming that elections are about votes and the politicians are elected by the people (and apparently all this money is irrelevant).

  • Guest

    I have a question for Jared, I have read his book “children of Jihad” and was really impressed by his insight especially about Iran, and he was right, in 2009 a twitter revolution happened in Tehran!! can he say few words about what he/google is working on in regards to countries like Iran who are trying to build intranets and basically block everyone from accessing internet….is he optimistics that these governments can be stopped?

  • Chris OConnell

    I was hoping we would get the final minutes without a fundraising break. I figured Google might have just tossed some fractions of a penny (to them) at KQED so the listening public could get an extra 7 minutes of their muckety-mucks.

  • Dan Southard

    Thank you for an hour long advertisement of google services and products. Hopefully Eric makes a big pledge…

  • white elephant

    There are 6 lobbyist for every congressman/women. Corporations pour the money in for the re-election of these law makers, Corporations have the ear of the law makers. Sad to say, oh guess what kind of laws get passed? Laws that benefit the corporations and not the general public.
    You blame apathy and throw everything back at the people, saying it is your own fault. Yes, I agree that people should be more engaged. But this also clearly shows how out of touch you are with the state of the people you blame. People have been robbed and enslaved.

    2000 era swindle, 1) throw money out the window under the banner of loans, loans for every warm body, everyone is over stretched,music is playing and everyone is dancing 2) 2008 crash the economy, take the homes back, penny’s on the dollar. Have people homeless, saddled with loans they can not pay back 3) attrition of jobs due to globalization and enslavement of people outside this country. people lost jobs in this country for years, add a crashed economy, people loose more jobs. 4) take away education from the children. Less and less money to educate. Nothing left of education beyond reading and writing, and being a consumer. After all, ..corporations would love to have ignorant masses who can be swayed to vote for their favorite ‘politician’ into office (just pour money into catchy advertisement, stir ignorant people and you can claim what you said, ” Hey do not blame us (the corportations), it is your own damn fault for letting us make the laws the way we want them, you elected the official. We (corporations) obey these laws, we broke no laws!! ” 5) Make higher education, out of reach. Only the rich kids get the right and the keys to exclusive higher education. Because their daddy is rich enough to pay for it, and they will come out supporting their daddy’s system. Afte rall, they benefited enormously from it.

    This is how SOCIETY DECAYS . We are very well following this path.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    Near the close of the show, Mr. Schmidt asserted that “[Tech entrepreneurs are] the dream of the world.”

    It’s a lovely phrase: “The dream of the world.” But something is missing here. Technology alone can never be fulfilling without a corresponding improvement in human relationships and the institutional structures that support them.

    The dreams of social philosophers must also be heard. When ideals of “good will-peace ethics for all” are effectively promoted by all three of high-tech entrepreneurs, their ingenius creations, and their resources; then all humanity will benefit from this meaningful union. Such collaboration will be a powerful force indeed for positive change.

  • s_straley

    “The fact of the matter is” during his Forum interview Eric Schmidt began every sentence, or point of contention, with “the fact of the matter is…” . Eric, what about “forever audio identity”?

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