Google's CEO Eric Schmidt has admitted that his thinks that internet anonymity won't last, with governments looking to maintain visibility over users' online movements.
Speaking at the Techonomy conference in the US, Schmidt said that, in the interests of stopping criminal or anti-social behaviour, governments will demand a more active role:
"The only way to manage this is true transparency and no anonymity. In a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you. We need a [verified] name service for people. Governments will demand it."
He also added that the amount of content users are putting online means people need to be ready for a seismic change in the way their data is used, according to ReadWriteWeb:
"If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use artificial intelligence we can predict where you are going to go," said Schmidt.
"Show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think you don't have 14 photos of yourself on the internet? You've got Facebook photos!
"People will find it's very useful to have devices that remember what you want to do, because you forgot... But society isn't ready for questions that will be raised as result of user-generated content."
However, he pointed out that despite the obvious privacy issues users will have to deal with; the sheer volume of information being published online will have fantastic benefits to the lives of nearly everyone:
"In our lifetimes we'll go from a small number of people having access to information, to 5 billion people having all the world's knowledge in their native language."