Freedom as we know it, the same type that has allowed the creation and the existence of the internet for three decades is now threatened by the action of “powerful forces” that want to control it, declared one of the co-founders of Google, Sergey Brin.
In an interview with the newspaper “The Guardian”, Brin warns that these “forces” have lined up against the freedom offered by the internet and acknowledges that he is more concerned than ever and that he is scared to even think about the current situation. He explains that the threat for internet freedom comes from governments seeking to control the access and communications of citizens, or companies like Facebook and Apple, who control the software that can be used on their platforms.
The Google co-founder, 38, is regarded as the main force behind the partial withdrawal of the search engine from China, in 2010, due to concerns about censorship in this country. Brin has expressed concern about the efforts of countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran to restrict the use of the internet as well as companies like Facebook and Apple, which control access of their users. According to “The Guardian”, criticism of Brin with regards to Facebook can be controversial since the social network is close to being a public company with a value estimated at 64 billion pounds ($ 76,2 billion). According to Brin, he and the other Google founder, Larry Page, would have been unable to create the famous search engine if the internet had been dominated by Facebook, because they would have been forced to play by their rules, which are very restrictive. He also criticized Facebook for its unwillingness to share user data with others, although the social network “has been subtracting Gmail contacts for several years.”
Regarding Apple, Brin is worried about its mobile operating system, iOS, a closed operating system, unlike Android from Google, which uses an open source.
In the UK, the Government has developed a plan in order to monitor phone calls, text messages and emails for safety reasons. British Prime Minister, Conservative David Cameron, launched this bill into the Parliament with the purpose of combating terrorism and organized crime. Under the plan, the data (including the time and duration of each call, and recipients of emails and text messages) will be collected by the center of Cheltenham listeners (western England), known by its acronym GCHQ, an organization whose activities are secret.
Political organizations and civil rights advocates have criticized the government program because they understand that it violates the right to privacy of British citizenship.
It is worth mentioning that Facebook is the most used social network in the world and one of the main competitors of Google + , a social network launched in 2011. Also, Apple is the owner of iOS, the rival of Android from Google. Keeping that in mind, what do you think? Is Sergey’s attack fair or is he just trying to demolish his main competitors?