Internet

Google chairman on Boston bombings: 'The first thing you hear online may not be correct'

April 22, 2013 at 9:48 AM ET

While Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, believes that the digital world made significant contributions in the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, he cautions that we need to be careful. The Internet doesn't always get things right on the first try, he explained Monday during an interview with TODAY's Matt Lauer.

"There is a rush to judgement online, but overall, we get to the right answer pretty quickly," Schmidt said. "Be careful. The first thing you hear may not be correct, but over time, the online world gets it right."

Jared Cohen, Google's director of ideas, remarked that "this is, of course, the story of technology." He and Schmidt co-authored "The New Digital Age," a book to be released on Tuesday, which focuses on the future, in which everyone is connected by technology for better or worse.

"It empowers people both for good and for ill," Cohen said. "But what we see is the number of people who want to see less violence in the world significantly outnumbers that of perpetrators. And they all have the ability to capture content and press rewind. More witnesses, more content, makes it harder for anybody willing to perpetrate an act to actually get away with it in the future."

"If you wanted to conceal your identity, you would use throwaway accounts online,"Mark Rasch, former head of the Justice Department's computer crime unit and now an independent consultant at MarkDRasch.com, told NBC News while discussing the "digital breadcrumbs" the Boston Marathon bombing suspects may have left."It's easy to conceal what you are doing. If I wanted to look up how pressure-cooker bombs worked, I would never use my own computer or my own accounts."

But Cohen doesn't think it's all that simple: "You have to leave a digital trail behind and nobody can be that careful and even terrorists make mistakes."

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