Over the next 10 years “approximately five billion people will become connected to the Internet,” however in countries with the most severe censorship including “places where clicking on an objectionable article can get your entire extended family thrown in prison, or worse” according to a NY Times Editorial written by Google.  The Editorial included these issues:

  • Trust is perhaps the most fundamental issue. 
  • Scalability is another problem. 
  • The final challenge is usability.

Other comments about the scope of Internet freedom were:

And while the technologies of repression are a multibillion-dollar industry, the tools to measure and assess digital repression get only a few million dollars in government and private funding. 

Private and academic centers like the Citizen Lab in Toronto are building detection tools, but we are still in the early days of mapping the reach of digital censorship. 

Of course, detection is just the first step in a counterattack against censorship. The next step is providing tools to undermine sensors, filters and throttles.  

The Editorial authors were Eric E. Schmidt (Google executive chairman) and Jared Cohen (director of Google Ideas) who are the authors of “The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses and Our Lives.” 

It will be interesting to watch over the next 10 years about how things actually develop.

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