Google’s chief executive officer Eric Schmidt has stated that although privacy is still important for web users, the era of anonymous browsing must come to an end.
In an interview with CNBC, Schmidt commented that: “Privacy is incredibly important. People have a right to privacy; it's natural; it's normal. It's the right way to do things. But if you are trying to commit a terrible, evil crime, it's not obvious that you should be able to do so with complete anonymity.”
Schmidt’s comments echo earlier statements that he made at the Techonomy conference regarding anti-social behaviour on the internet, whereby he argued that Governments would soon be demanding an end to anonymity.
“The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity,” said Schmidt. “In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a name service for people. Governments will demand it.”
Quite how this will affect Google’s future business model remains to be seen. Since the company derives its primary revenue from the sale of personal data and personalised advertising, an end to anonymous browsing could certainly be beneficial to its business model.