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Google's Sergey Brin 'More Worried' About Open Internet Than Ever

Sergey Brin Google CoFounder Donation - H 2011
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The executive criticizes foreign governments, Facebook and Apple and says the failed, Hollywood-favored SOPA legislation would have brought practices to the U.S. that are typically seen in China and Iran.

 

LONDON - The open Internet is facing greater threats than ever, Google co-founder Sergey Brin told the Guardian.

He cited foreign governments trying to control online access and communications, but also the entertainment industry's attempt to address piracy via the failed SOPA and PIPA legislation, and the "restrictive" walled gardens offered by tech powerhouses like Facebook and Apple.

"We've seen a massive attack on the freedom of the Web," he said about governments' attempts at restricting Web content and access. "Governments are realizing the power of this medium to organize people and they are trying to clamp down across the world, not just in places like China and North Korea; we're seeing bills in the United States, in Italy, all across the world."

Brin also criticized the walled garden approaches of such fellow tech giants as Facebook, which has been competing with Google for Web traffic, and Apple, which control what software can be released on their platforms.

He argued that can stifle innovation. "There's a lot to be lost," Brin said. "For example, all the information in apps – that data is not crawlable by Web crawlers. You can't search it."

Brin even suggested that Google would not have been created if the Internet was dominated by Facebook. "You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive," he told the Guardian. "The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open."