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Google worries about internet in Arab world

Chairman says governments may begin to crack down on internet freedoms after Arab Spring

Google worries about internet in Arab world
Google's chairman Eric Schmidt says he is worried that governments across the Arab world will begin internet crackdowns following the Arab Spring.

Google's chairman said that the growing use of the web by anti-government protestors across the Arab world could lead to harder crackdowns on the internet by some countries, according to the BBC.

Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt said some governments wanted stricter regulations on the internet and to regulate it in the same way as they regulate television.

"If you look at television in most of these countries, television is highly regulated because the leaders, partial dictators, half dictators or whatever you want to call them understand the power of television imagery to keep their citizenry in some bucket," Schmidt told the BBC.

Schmidt added that he feared his colleagues at Google would face a growing risk of arrest and torture in such countries if these crackdowns happened.

Protestors have used the internet during the so-called Arab Spring to organise demonstrations and protest groups, and to communicate with international media and people outside the country.

Schmidt said that he believes the problem of governments trying to limit internet usage was only going to get worse.

"The reason is that as the technology becomes more pervasive and as the citizenry becomes completely wired and the content gets localised to the language of the country, it becomes an issue like television," said Schmidt.

During the Egypt uprising, Google executive Wael Ghonim was held for questioning by the government after taking part in anti-government protests which led to the ousting of Hosni Mubarak.

Google has regularly clashed with China over attempts to limit public access to its internet services.

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