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James Perrin

Internet Leaders Bite Back at Sarkozy

25th May 2011 News, Industry News 2 minutes to read

Over the last two days, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been hosting an e-G8 Forum in Paris, with the aim of discussing the possibility of internet regulation. After he had his say, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt had his…

On the one hand we have Sarkozy who is looking for a fundamental set of rules as a way governing the internet, specifically when it comes to privacy and copyright issues. However Schmidt believes that technology moves too fast for national governments to keep up and ultimately they will solve the problem themselves.

Original Dispute

Nicolas Sarkozy has been looking for a reason to get together with internet leaders for a while now. Taxation, especially in a country like France where broadband is subsidised, has been a main issue for the French President.

Targeting Google for their huge advertising profits, which ironically the French Government has helped to finance, Sarkozy has been looking at some form of tax. Incidentally Google only pay tax in the countries where they are headquartered, notably the US and Ireland.

Need for Regulation

However the e-G8’s focus wasn’t necessarily on Sarkozy’s beef on tax, but rather to discuss the ways of policing the internet. Yesterday Sarkozy addressed the attendees by saying, “Nobody should forget that these governments are the only legitimate representatives of the will of the people in our democracies. To forget this is to risk democratic chaos and hence anarchy.”

Sarkozy’s aim is for individual governments to provide legislation to govern online behaviour. It will certainly make things incredibly interesting in the way global internet companies start to operate in individual countries.

Internet Leaders’ Reaction

According to reports [see: Google’s Eric Schmidt clashes with Nicolas Sarkozy at eG8 | Telegraph], Google chairman Schmidt responded in direct contrast to what Sarkozy wants to propose.

Schmidt wanted to make sure that before a regulatory solution was decided to the problems of privacy and copyright, we should ask, “Is there a technological solution that can scale, that can work globally, and move very quickly?”

His views were suggesting that technologies developed by the internet leaders will move much quicker and prove to be far more effective than national governance.

Outcome

The conclusions of e-G8 will be presented to the world leaders at the G8 summit later this week. The outcome will be discussed and we can begin to unravel what changes may be implemented. However the findings are believed to be fractured with a split between those who want a self governing internet and those who want national governance. We have an interesting couple of days to look forward to…

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