The chairman of Google and other technology industry leaders are worried about possible negative effects of the government's surveillance activities.
They spoke at a conference in California organized by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who has criticized the National Security Agency for spying on citizens and monitoring their communications.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt was joined at the event by representatives of Microsoft, Facebook and other tech firms, the Daily Mail reported.
Schmidt said the surveillance practices could "break the Internet." He warned that other countries might establish separate networks to avoid being spied upon. A loss of global connectivity could have disastrous financial consequences for U.S.-based technology firms, the Mail's online edition noted.
"What's going to happen is, governments will do bad laws of one kind or another, and they are eventually going to say, 'We want our own Internet in our country because we want it to work our way. And we don't want these NSA and other people in it,'" Schmidt said. "The cost of that is huge, in terms of knowledge, discovery, science, growth, jobs, etc."
He pointed out that the NSA's activities are causing companies based in other countries to distrust the Internet.
"The impact is severe and getting worse," Schmidt cautioned.
Photo: Daily Tech