Is the Internet scary to governments?

“Many of the politicians don’t actually understand the phenomenon of the Internet very well,” Schmidt told the Financial Times. “It’s partly because of their age … often what they learn about the Internet they learn from their staffs and their children.”

The advent of television taught political leaders the art of the sound bite. The Internet will also force them to adapt.

“The Internet has largely filled a role of funding for politicians … but it has not yet affected elections. It clearly will,” Schmidt said.

Writing in the Sun tabloid, the Google boss said the online world has empowered ordinary people with the ability to challenge governments, the media and business.

“It has broken down the barriers that exist between people and information, effectively democratising access to human knowledge,” Schmidt wrote.

“This has made us much more powerful as individuals.”

~~Larry Eric Schimdt, Chairman & CEO of Google

Very true. I love this excerpt so much so that I have decided to put it up here. Full article available here. Some of the older generation really dun get it. They think of the internet as a “series of tubes”. Check out my rant about Senator Ted Stevens here. Some clamp down on internet, thinking they are subversive to society.

Its fine setting up parameters of decency on the internet, but don’t fight technology for the sake of safeguarding positions of power but rather in granting a voice to the masses. The little man needs a voice. Governments should learn how to play a role in the new medium rather than ignore it or condemn it as a channel for subversive social behavior. And they should not learn to play a dominant role, as they are used to in the offline world, but learn to understand their new status as equals.

Such mindset changes are most difficult to implement relative to material changes in our physical world. In my country Singapore, politics has become a science privy only to a gated, niche community. Mindset changes at both government and the civil level are needed in order to truly open up socially perceived barriers to public dialogue.

Don’t close the door on the Internet.


2 thoughts on “Is the Internet scary to governments?

  1. I agree. Btw, Eric, not Larry 🙂

  2. haha, you are right, freudian slip there..

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