Trade Resources Industry Views "Lack of a Delete Button on The Internet Is... a Significant Issue"

"Lack of a Delete Button on The Internet Is... a Significant Issue"

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that the "lack of a delete button on the internet is... a significant issue".

In an interview by economist Nouriel Roubini at New York University's business school, Schmidt was asked what he believed privacy would look like in 10 or 20 years' time once smartphones had become "stone age" technology and given way to wearables or embedded tech.

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Citing Google Glass as a step in this direction, Roubini strongly implied Schmidt's company posed a threat to privacy.

Schmidt was having none of it: "Let me be very clear that Google is not tracking's not doing all these things," said Schmidt, before asking the audience, "Does everyone get that we're not doing this? [Roubini's] talking about a different company or set of companies."

Schmidt said Roubini's suggestion that tracking and data collection could become even more concentrated in the future was "a world of tracking which I think is highly unlikely to occur, because people will be upset about it in the same way you are."

Schmidt suggested that "governments won't allow" such close tracking, and that it would "be bad business" because it would make consumers unhappy.

Referring to what he called the US's "innate sense of fairness" with regard to a justice system that can erase poof of crimes when the punishment term has been spent, Schmidt said the internet as it exists today stands in the way of such practice; sweeping away past actions of any kind now impossible "because of the internet".

"This lack of a delete button on the Internet is in fact a significant issue," said the CEO. "There are times when [data] erasure is the right thing, and there are times when it is inappropriate. How do we decide? We have to have that debate now."

Schmidt's words seem a far cry from Google's current - and past - practice as a company, which has seen it under fire in various policy disputes across the world with reference to how it treats data. From Google Street View cars extracting Wi-Fi security information from homes they passed, to the company's 2012 privacy policy that quietly played for the right to integrate all user data across its various services, the company has an established reputation for causing ire with its data policies.

Google is currently facing direct action from a six-nation EU watchdog over alleged breaches of international privacy rules, while the company's first privacy director, Alma Whitten, stepped down after three years.

Paid subs for YouTube?

In other Google news today, the Financial Times has learned that Google seems to be planning the introduction of paid subscriptions to selected YouTube video channels, apparently starting at $1.99 (£1.28) per month for up to 50 channels.

A spokesman said there was "nothing to announce" officially on this front, but the company is "looking into creating a subscription platform [to] provide our creators with another vehicle to generate from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer".

After a statistical crunch carried out by showed 35 per cent of Google products shut down, and that the majority of these casualties have been socially-based, rather than monetised, this apparent move to begin directly monetising YouTube seems timely.

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The Internet 'Needs a Delete Button', Says Google CEO Schmidt