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Schmidt predicts “elimination” of internet censorship within a decade

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has made the bold claim that global internet censorship will end in a decade, in a lecture given yesterday.

Speaking at John Hopkins University, Schmidt also predicted that better use of encryption would allow citizens to escape government surveillance in the future.

"First they try to block you; second, they try to infiltrate you; and third, you win. I really think that's how it works. Because the power is shifted," he said, according to Reuters.

"I believe there's a real chance that we can eliminate censorship and the possibility of censorship in a decade."

Last year, Google made its own small stand against the ongoing internet censorship in China. When a search query was likely to return an error that was beyond the search engine's control, Google displayed a warning below the search bar to alert the user of this practice.

"We've observed that searching for [query] in mainland China may temporarily break your connection to Google. This interruption is outside Google's control," the warning read.

Earlier this year, Schmidt travelled to another notoriously censored country, North Korea, in order to champion his cause of greater openness and connectivity. However, his trip was criticised by the US State Department and was reported as entirely unsuccessful.

"It's clear that we failed. But we'll try again. We have not been invited back," Schmidt said. "My view is that if we can get some connectivity, then they'll begin to open the country, they'll begin to understand other systems."

Schmidt also spoke of the United States National Security Agency (NSA) spy scandal that came about as a result of leaked documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. It is alleged that the NSA hacked the search engine's internal networks in order to monitor internet traffic.

"The solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everyone," Schmidt told the audience. "It's pretty clear to me that government surveillance and the way in which governments are doing this will be here to stay in some form.

"It's how the citizens will express themselves, and the governments will want to know what they're doing. In that race, I think the censors will lose, and I think that people would be empowered."