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Google Exec Fears Internet Crackdown

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, said at a conference earlier in the week that the use of the web by Arab democracy movements could result in nations further restricting Internet access. Social networking sites were frequently used by Arab Spring movement dissidents to organize anti-government movements. He said that “as the technology becomes more pervasive and as the citizenry becomes completely wired and the content gets localized to the language of the country, it becomes an issue like television.” Google and its employees have been in the crosshairs in nations seeking to restrict information. Wael Ghonim, a Google executive, was detained and blindfolded for two weeks during Egyptian unrest in January. At the time, Google helped arrange a service for Egyptians to user Twitter via voice mail to circumvent the government’s communications restrictions. Schmidt didn’t go into detail but said Google employees remain at risk for arrest and possible torture. Schmidt made his comments at the Summit Against Violent Extremism in Dublin, Ireland, earlier this week. (BBC)(AFP)(Reuters)

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