Even if you think you've deleted an embarrassing photo or tweet, chances are someone, somewhere can find a copy, potentially even years later.
"The lack of a delete button on the Internet is a significant issue. There is a time when erasure is a right thing," Schmidt told attendees of an event at New York University in Manhattan on Monday, reports CNet's Shara Tibken.
He used the example of a person who committed a crime as a minor that was expunged from his record when he became an adult. But information about that crime could remain online, preventing the person from finding a job.
This is an about-face from Schmidt's attitude toward privacy a few years ago. In 2009 he caused a stir by more-or-less dismissing privacy, saying during an in an interview with CNBC, " If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
In 2009, he went on to say that if the authorities came calling, search engines like Google, which retain data for a long time, could be forced to hand that information over.
Now, in conjunction with his new book, "The New Digital Age," Schmidt not only believes in privacy, he says its worth fighting for.
In an interview on the "PBS NewsHour" last week, Schmidt said, "Privacy becomes more important in this new interconnected world because we need privacy. ... I think you're going to have to fight for it." He said people are going to have to stand up and demand: "I don't want the government snooping on me for this reason or that."
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