In a wide-ranging session at SXSW today, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen discussed everything from Syrian dissidents to robots taking our jobs.

Following reports that Britain’s GCHQ had intercepted data being transmitted between Google datacenters, Schmidt said that the company’s resulting security upgrade had left him “Pretty sure that information within Google is now safe from any government’s prying eyes.”

In addition to increased encryption, which Google has discussed publicly to a degree, Schmidt said the company had made further undisclosed improvements to its security in recent months.

While some critics may suggest that “pretty sure” isn’t sure enough, it would be a fool who suggested any system was completely secure in every way with complete certainty – and if the Snowden revelations over the past year have taught us anything, it’s that spies have been relentless in exploiting any weak point in the secure flow of information across the Internet that they can find.

Elsewhere in the talk, Schmidt discussed how he believed that improvements in encryption technology over the next decade would prevent the ‘Balkanization’ of the Internet in countries like Iran, which has said it is planning its own state-controlled, isolated version of the Internet. Schmidt said he believed this technology would make it impossible to shut down free communication by citizens online.

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Image credit: MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images