Google's Sergey Brin: Open Internet is threatened

How much should we worry about our free and open access to the Internet being closed off? If you believe Google co-founder Sergey Brin, you should be very worried indeed.

In a new interview for The Guardian, he states that in his opinion, " ... very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world." He added, "I am more worried than I have been in the past. It's scary."

He cites a number of reasons for his deep concern. One of them is that a number of governments, such as Iran, are trying to control access to the Internet, blocking the freedom to use the net by its citizens. He adds that the entertainment industry also wants to limit Internet access under the umbrella of fighting online piracy.

Those companies have been supporting bills like SOPA which Google and other companies have fought to shut down. Brin feels that the entertainment business is "shooting itself in the foot, or maybe worse than in the foot" for trying to support these proposed laws.

Finally, closed systems for downloading apps and content, such as Apple's iOS, could also lead to less freedom for users and developers, according to Brin. Facebook is also lumped into the closed system issue, with Brin claiming, "You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive."

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17 Comments

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i feel threatened by US gov, big corporations same as dictatorship regimes in Iran and China ...

let's build own network around globe w/o them

What a bunch of Google propaganda BS!!

Hopefully, and they do seem to be working on it already, Google shoots themselves in the foot very soon!

knighthawk said,
While he makes some valid points (re: threats from governments), most of his comments are pretty self (Goggle) serving.

Its a do as I say not do as I do situation!

I can see the view point when it comes to some aspects of what Google does like Android and Chrome. If companies like Apple keep restricting apps then you "could" run into a situation of only being able to run apps that kiss apple's rear end. This stifles competition, choice and at some point innovation.

If you are talking solely about search and user data, then obviously Google is being hypocritical.

TRANSLATION: Facebook's Privacy Controls are so effective, we can't index it!

Meanwhile, Twitter cries foul that Google ain't indexing them, but this is Not a threat for Google. How ironic.

It's been proved that when alcohol, and cigarette were legalized it was more controlled. Right now we are on a "legalized Internet", and when (if happens, hope not) the Internet is restricted by bills like ACTA, SOPA, etc. the entertainment company will see its downfall.

Like it or not, it's thanks to piracy that people know about other TV series, artists, and many other "entertainment types". How come an USA artist be heard in Europe if there isn't a way for people to grab the music? How come those wonderful TV series be known outside their prime countries (USA, Japan, Spain, etc.) to the world if it wasn't for piracy? I bet the audience wouldn't be so hyped if it wasn't divulged outside its prime country.

Thanks to the Internet we have a more "globalized" world, if we are to dumb it down and restrict it, we would likely go to the Medieval Era in which the Church rule it all. Making the Church the SOPA, ACTA supporters and the people, everyone else.

Title should read, Apple and Facebook threaten Google freedom.

"Finally, closed systems for downloading apps and content, such as Apple's iOS, could also lead to less freedom for users and developers, according to Brin. Facebook is also lumped into the closed system issue, with Brin claiming, "You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive, that data is not crawlable by web crawlers. We [Google] can't search it [nor sell it, and make money from it]."

Mike Frett said,
If I did not PAY for the internet, then I would have no ACCESS. So it's not very open, and certainly not free; at least for me.

Guess "free" wasn't meant as in "free beer"

GS:ios

Mike Frett said,
If I did not PAY for the internet, then I would have no ACCESS. So it's not very open, and certainly not free; at least for me.

I'm in the same situation...

So, how much do you worry about your free and open access to the Internet being closed off? ...It's a non-issue, isn't it? and the only conclusion I can draw is that Brin and Callaham must be from another Universe.

I dont see Iran or China controlling the internet for their citizens as much of an issue for the global state of the internet, the most visible threat is the entertainment industry who would like nuke the net to prevent piracy if they could.

As always though the most insidious threat is the one you cant see or don't hear about and and thats likely western government and the big players (facebook, google etc) who have the capacity to maintain the illussion of a free/open internet when it and you really aren't.

Osiris said,
...likely western government and the big players (facebook, google etc) who have the capacity to maintain the illussion of a free/open internet when it and you really aren't.

Another good point and they are. Facebook declared their support for CISPA (or whatever, the reincarnation of SOPA) and Google's personalized results mean people won't have a balanced and objective understanding when they use Google.

JAB Creations said,

Another good point and they are. Facebook declared their support for CISPA (or whatever, the reincarnation of SOPA) and Google's personalized results mean people won't have a balanced and objective understanding when they use Google.

Yep, they put everyone in so called bubbles so you only see what Google think you should be seeing. I think that is a horrible direction in search.

By Google. They have begun preventing webmasters from knowing what our visitors are looking for using the false pretense of privacy yet Google retains that same information and then continues to encourage webmasters to concentrate on adding content when we have no idea what people are looking for any more?

But wait, there is Google Webmaster tools! So you're telling me we can trust any huge corporation to be honest about reporting the terms used by people?

One person on a Mozilla mailing list suggested this protects people against government snooping. REALLY? So Google with 80% of the WORLD search market has absolutely not attracted the attention of any governments or their agencies? Not like the CIA, NSA, FBI or other security agency would kill to see what people are searching for...nah, that TOTALLY wouldn't be a treasure trove to information collecting agencies at all!

So when you have a pseudo-capitalistic society (meaning not capitalism because the checks and balances have been removed) corporations that are publicly traded HAVE to increase profits every quarter endlessly without fail and of course that surely won't lead to corruption to ensure those endless quarters of increased profit.

It's not like people's information is worth anything. It's not like Facecrook made 3.71 billion dollars in 2011 selling purely people's information...oh wait...they did.

Don't get me wrong, Google's search engine is excellent but the direction Google has been moving of late has turned outright hostile towards the open internet.

If I run a site that reports on sensitive political topics that you care about but your referral data is kept from me and Google along with government agencies (notice the lack of "our country's) then how do you know if those terms are conveniently being removed from reports in Google's Webmaster Tools? No one does except Google and those government agencies.

Oh and of course there will be the tools screaming conspiracy theory. Not like there is any fraud in the world at all. Not like we have court systems to deal with people, companies, corporations and even governments breaking laws and doing immoral things...nope, everything is totally a conspiracy theory and no one in any position of power cares about more money or more power at the expense of the faceless masses.


"Conspiracy is the normal continuation of normal politics by normal means." - Carroll Quigley

"A conspiracy is nothing but a secret agreement of a number of men for the pursuance of policies which they dare not admit in public." - Mark Twain

Edited by JAB Creations, Apr 16 2012, 7:21am :