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Vint Cerf: "It’s not Google that will be tracking you. It will be the cameras."

Google's response to "erosion of privacy" has been to "encrypt everything…to protect people's interests." A top Google executive recently spoke to DW and will join the Global Media Forum on June 30 via video link.

Answering questions about the disclosure of data to the U.S. National Security Agency, Google Vice President Vinton Gray "Vint" Cerf says that Google was not the source of surveillance. A great deal of the information captured by the NSA "was obtained without our agreement or consent." Google was legally required to provide some information, he says, but the company's response has been to "encrypt everything … to protect our users."

However, he warns that increasingly intense tracking of people's daily activities "will be absolutely normal." Cerf insists that, "it's not Google that will be tracking you. It will be the cameras that are keeping track of the flow of traffic and your payment on the toll roads." It's unavoidable for an individual's location to be a lot more visible. "Your mobile phone needs to know where you are so it can connect you to the nearest base station, for example."

Cerf is convinced that global connectedness and accumulating digital documentation serves to "preserve culture" and makes it accessible to as many people as possible. Despite the shortfalls of global communication, in the long run he feels the Internet will improve our ability to understand other people's cultures, social norms and conventions.

From participation to information

Vint Cerf will participate in the debates at the Global Media Forum via video link, when Deutsche Welle hosts the annual media congress at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany, for the seventh time. This year, from June 30 – July 2, the theme of the conference is "From Information to Participation – Challenges for the Media." Some 40 separate events will cover topics related to the opportunities and risks posed by the digital world and their real impact on people's lives.

Among the high-level experts taking part in the discussions are author and Google expert Jeff Jarvis, CEO of Axel Springer SE Mathias Döpfner, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Egyptian political satirist Bassem Youssef and Internet activists Emma Ruby-Sachs and Tiffiniy Cheng.

International partners and co-hosts

The 2014 Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum is held in cooperation with many national and international partners, such as Amnesty International, Deutsche Telekom, the Grimme-Institut, NATO, the United Nations, the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications and Voices of Africa.

The conference is co-hosted by the Foundation for International Dialogue of the Sparkasse Savings Bank in Bonn. Support is also kindly provided by Germany's Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the City of Bonn. Cooperation partner is The Right Livelihood College Campus Bonn.

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