February 6, 2007 2:05 PM PST

Google's Schmidt pitches 'self-governing' Net

WASHINGTON--Google CEO Eric Schmidt's nightmare scenario for a future Internet looks like this: As billions more people go online, those in power are so "freaked out" about the misuse of personal information that they suffocate the Web with stifling regulations.

Under that "undesirable" construction, a small number of companies become gatekeepers, forcing Internet users to interact in "highly regimented" ways that rest on verifying their identities, Schmidt said in his keynote speech at a luncheon event hosted here by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The registrar has to know who you are," Schmidt said, referring to future gatekeepers. "You can't lie."

The Google chief said he remained optimistic that the Internet will instead tend toward a self-governing set of people and communities. But he acknowledged that "true anonymity is extremely rare...and can be very, very dangerous." In that vein, a middle-ground scenario that supplies "enough insulation so you know who you're dealing with" could also arise.

In a meandering, conversational speech that lasted about 30 minutes, Schmidt mused about challenges that global leaders will continue to face as the Internet's reach continues to expand.

For instance, aside from privacy and security concerns, "we have to define where free speech begins and ends," he said. He suggested tensions might arise in a world where countries like Germany and France have outlawed pro-Nazi speech, Brazil and others don't look kindly on racist remarks, and India makes it a crime to desecrate national icons like Mahatma Gandhi.

Nations that have traditionally restricted stories told by the news media may also have to grapple with the newfound capability of their citizens to discover, just by going online, when their governments aren't treating them well, Schmidt said.

In the end, online communities could even shake up the usual borders that define governing structures, the Google chief said.

"If MySpace gets a billion people, does it get its own government?" Schmidt asked. "Is there some rule that if you have a billion people, you get your own country? I don't know. I'm trying to be a little provocative here."

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We need an Alternative Network
We at NetAlter feel that Internet should not be restricted for end users and people should have the right for free expression in this online medium and also protection for their privacy. At the same time we feel the Internet should not become a tool for unlawful activities.

However, the present trend is that governments are trying to regulate the net by bullying major ISPs in storing user information and usage patterns.

The NetAlter system addresses the problem of unlawful usage of internet in a novel way. It uses IPv6 to uniquely identify a user and assign a unique ID but does not store personal information or content of the user on its servers.

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For example activist of Tibet want to create their own personal network, they can do so and publish what they want within their network.

To publish outside their personal network, which is on the Public Network, the users will require revealing their identity and providing verifiable information.

What this means that the activists of Tibet will require identifying themselves if they wish to publish information in the entire NetAlter network.

And what is publicly published on the NetAlter network can be regulated either by government regulatory bodies or other responsible organizations depending on country to country.

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Thus NetAlter offers privacy and freedom of speech at the private network level and offers regulation at the public network level.

NetAlter is under development and is supposed to offer an alternative network to internet users.
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