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e-G8 Stress Internet Freedom at Meeting with G-8

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Facebook's Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt

The big message to come from the Internet business leaders who gathered in France for the e-G8 meeting this week was “Leave the Internet alone.”

Hosted by Publicis chief exec Maurice Lévy and serving as a prelude to the Group of 8 summit currently under way, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Eric Schmidt, John Donahoe, chief executive of eBay, and Groupon founder Andrew Mason were among the digital bigwigs in attendance for the e-G8. They also had an audience with G-8 world leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has called for some regulation of the Web.

“Yes, we should protect intellectual property; no, we shouldn’t create a situation by which the internet cannot grow and cannot develop,” said Lévy.

“The internet is the greatest force for good in the world. We should not have premature regulation ahead of innovation. There are technical solutions to these problems. Sarkozy sent a strong message he’d like to work with us on these issues,” said Schmidt.

Right now, the Group of 8 leaders have got their attentions on Egypt and Tunisia, as well as the ongoing crisis with the euro.

However, technology continues to develop in new ways, with Facebook making music sharing plans with Spotify and Google announcing Google Wallet, a mobile payment system. Another key takeaway from the meeting is the need for ongoing conversations between technology companies and government leaders.

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