Openness and universal access to the Internet – the basic principles of the world wide network – are under threat. Such a warning was made by Sergey Brin, the developer and co-founder of search engine Google.
In an interview published given to the British newspaper Guardian, he says that threat to the Internet freedom comes from governments, which are increasingly trying to systemize its citizens’ access to electronic communications and are introducing stricter controls on their exchange of communication. Brin says that entertainment industry, struggling with piracy, has also contributed to this. In his opinion, the rules imposed on social networks are like the ones as by software vending companies.
According to Brin, the entertainment industry, which he said was “shooting itself in the foot, or maybe worse than in the foot” by lobbying for legislation to block sites offering pirate material.
Sergey Brin, whose family had to flee Soviet Union due to antisemitism, is considered to have strongly backed Google’s partial pullout from China in 2010. In the interview to Guardian, he said that he was hopeful that China won’t be able to censure the internet for a long time, but he is proven wrong with time. He said “I thought there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle, but now it seems in certain areas the genie has been put back in the bottle.”
In an alarming tone he says “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world”. “I am more worried than I have been in the past,” he said. “It’s scary.”
Among the countries most actively trying to restrict the access of its citizens to the Internet, Brin said include China, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Among the companies and social networks, effectively dictating their terms on the users through their own software “platform”, he mentioned include “Apple” and “Facebook.”