Any plans to make illicit file-sharing websites illegal could set a “disastrous precedent”, according to Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt.
Governments around the globe – including Britain – plan to tackle piracy but Schmidt says his company will fight to keep the internet open – and compared any act of website blocking to censorship in China.
“If there is a law that requires DNSs [domain name systems, the protocol that allows users to connect to websites] to do X and it’s passed by both houses of congress and signed by the president of the United States and we disagree with it then we would still fight it,” he said. “If it’s a request the answer is we wouldn’t do it, if it’s a discussion we wouldn’t do it.
“I would be very, very careful if I were a government about arbitrarily [implementing] simple solutions to complex problems. So, ‘let’s whack off the DNS’. Okay, that seems like an appealing solution but it sets a very bad precedent because now another country will say ‘I don’t like free speech so I’ll whack off all those DNSs’ – that country would be China.
“It doesn’t seem right. I would be very, very careful about that stuff. If [the UK government] do it the wrong way it could have disastrous precedent setting in other areas.”