The head of Google has attacked David Cameron’s suggestion that the Government should have the power to control social media sites.
Dr Eric Schmidt spoke out after the Home Secretary, Theresa May, met police and executives from social media networks to discuss how rioters could be prevented from using new technology to organise disorder.
BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook and Twitter were all used by vandals to co-ordinate their movements during the looting and vandalism that broke out across England a fortnight ago.
Delivering the McTaggart lecture in Edinburgh on Friday, Dr Eric Schmidt said: “It’s a mistake to look in the mirror and decide to break the mirror.
“The fact of the matter is whatever the problem was … whatever the underlying problem was, the internet is a reflection of that problem but turning on and off the internet is not going to fix it.
“You better fix whatever the underlying problem was.”
It’s a mistake to look in the mirror and decide to break the mirror. Dr Eric Schmidt
The Government has not sought any additional powers to close down social media networks, the Home Office said earlier this week.
Dr Schmidt also said he was “flabbergasted” that computer science is not taught as standard in UK schools, adding: “Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it’s made. That is just throwing away your great computing heritage.”
Channel 4 News visited one school whose commitment to cutting-edge scientific research could provide a blueprint for the future of science in schools.
The Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Kent has attracted the attention of Nasa and researchers at CERN, the home of the large hadron collider in Switzerland.
The school has already developed a commercially viable device to measure cosmic rays in space and discovered near-earth objects.
Langton, a foundation grammer school, is doing research into multiple sclerosis which has attracted funding from the Wellcome Trust, and even has a licence to modify the human genome.