Google co-founder Sergey Brin warns web freedom is under threat
Billionaire Sergey Brin has expressed deep concerns about the growing restrictions that are threatening the openness of web access and the fight for control over information. In an interview with the Guardian, Brin claims that he and co-founder Larry Page could never have created Google if it had been so greatly dominated by Facebook: “The reason that we were able to develop a search engine is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules that will stifle innovation.”
Brin states that there are many forces at work that are against the openness of the web and want to try and gain control over it, even though the internet was created with the key objective of being universally accessible. Now the government, companies, military strategists, activists and hackers are trying to fight for control over what that citizen can have access to. Governments are trying to control people’s communications and limit the freedom of the web. We are also faced with the entertainment industry trying to fight piracy issues, with Hollywood desperately attempting to push legislation laws against pirate websites, fighting for them to be shut down.
Web giants Facebook and Apple even have tight control over what software can be released onto their platforms, and Brin criticises Facebook, the £64 billion competitor, for making it very difficult for the user to use any other data service. “Facebook has been sucking down Gmail contacts for many years,” he claims. This is causing a growing concern for Google users who are worried about how much of their data is accessible by US authorities as it sits on Google’s servers.
Brin raises his concerns in particular with China, Saudi Arabia and Iran’s increasing efforts to censor and restrict the web access, alongside the rise of a controlled Facebook and Apple using their own propriety platforms; they are risking a divided web and are restraining creativity and change.