We Live Online Now

Hosted by Andrew Ross Sorkin and the editors of The New York Times, the DealBook conference (dated on November 10, 2016) brings together visionaries — powerful C.E.O.s, leading figures in finance and experts from diverse industries — to assess the challenges and opportunities that will define the deal world of tomorrow.

Participants had the rare opportunity to interact with other industry leaders in a collaborative environment, designed to encourage chance encounters, spark partnerships and inspire fresh thinking. Eric Schmidt was one of them. 

Most public figures should assume that information about them will be leaked. At least, that’s what Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, thinks.

Mr. Schmidt, whose emails with members of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign were stolen and recently published online by WikiLeaks, spoke at length about the importance of tightening digital security at a conference held by The New York Times on Thursday, and said that President-elect Donald J. Trump should create a division within the federal government that spends its time auditing the security of its systems.

We live online now,” he said. “If you grab someone’s smartphone, it’s equal or worse than grabbing their wallet.”

He said Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, once told him that, because “governments are capable of systemic evil, which requires planning,” leaking any form of activity at that level would prevent government from getting “too far into that evil.” Mr. Schmidt punctuated that story, however, by saying, “The problem, of course, with this argument, is that he appoints himself the judge of that.”

Mr. Schmidt added that the United States government had not yet figured out how to deter digital attacks from other countries.

China has been responsible for the vast majority of commercial attacks, and yet we maintain good relations with China over all,” he said. — DANIELLE IVORY

Who is Eric Schmidt ?

Eric Schmidt is the executive chairman of Alphabet Inc. He is responsible for the external matters of all of the holding company’s businesses, including Google Inc., advising their C.E.O.s and leadership on business and policy issues.

Schmidt joined Google in 2001 and helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley start-up to a global leader in technology. He served as Google’s chief executive officer from 2001–2011, and as chairman from 2011–2015. Prior to Google, Schmidt held leadership roles at Novell and Sun Microsystems, Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University as well as a master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

He is the co-author of “The New Digital Age” and “How Google Works,” and serves on the boards of the Mayo Clinic and the Broad Institute. He’s a Gulfstream pilot, and his philanthropic efforts through The Schmidt Family Foundation focus on climate change, including support of ocean and marine life studies at sea, as well as education, specifically cutting-edge research and technology in the natural sciences and engineering.


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