Google boss urges global internet freedom

Free vs. regulated web

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has called for internet freedom in Burma at a recent talk at a Rangoon technical university.

He received a round of applause for urging the government to adopt a more hands-off approach to regulating the web. The Google boss suggested that private organisations should instead be allowed to develop the telecommunications infrastructure, and that competition and free speech is something to welcome.

The executive chairman suggested that a free web could help promote political, social and economical progression, as he said: "The answer to bad speech is more speech. More communication. More voices. [...] If you are a political leader you get a much better idea of what your citizens are thinking about."

Google in Burma

At present, less than one percent of Burmese citizens have internet access, and less than 10% have mobile phones, according to World Bank data, as a result of high prices and an inadequate infrastructure.

Eric Schmidt suggested that Google is taking steps to provide Burmese users with information, introducing its search engine and other applications to the country. It will be launching www.google.com.mm which is set to include suitable, local language content, and has opened up access to the Google Apps store.

Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword, said: "Google has toured a number of emerging markets and called for their governments to loosen their restrictions and think about having a more open approach to the internet, including North Korea and India."

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