Sergey Brin: Web Freedom Faces Its Greatest Threat Ever

Illustration for article titled Sergey Brin: Web Freedom Faces Its Greatest Threat Ever

Over the past three decades, the internet has changed—and if you're to believe Sergey Brin, the principles of openness and universal access that underpinned it at its conception are under the greatest threat they've ever faced.


In an interview with the Guardian, Brin has spoken out about his concern for the future of the web. So, what's troubling him?

"I am more worried than I have been in the past. It's scary... There's a lot to be lost. For example, all the information in apps – that data is not crawlable by web crawlers. You can't search it."

Is that our single biggest concern, Sergey? Really? In particular, it's the proprietary systems offered up by the likes of Facebook that seem to be troubling Brin most.

"You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive. 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. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation."

It's hard to tell if this is true concern over the freedom of the internet or whether—as the cynics among you may leap to suggest—it's a case of hitting out at an extremely successful competitor. At least he goes on to discuss US authorities' role in data privacy:

"We do everything possible to protect the data. If we could wave a magic wand and not be subject to US law, that would be great. If we could be in some magical jurisdiction that everyone in the world trusted, that would be great … We're doing it as well as can be done."


Which is something many people could, I'm sure, get behind. So, does the internet face its greatest threat ever? Maybe. Is Sergey Brin the man to tell us exactly what's wrong? Maybe. Maybe not. [The Guardian]

Image by Google



Mike Fulton

So, let me get this straight... Sergey wants search engines like Google to be able to reach into people's phones and other mobile devices and look at the data from individual apps?

And the FAILURE to be able to do this is a threat to internet freedom?

You know, the ability of search engines to seemingly find ANYTHING has been likened to "Big Brother" by many people. Expanding that ability even further to include data on our mobile phones seems like a huge step towards a complete lack of privacy. I wouldn't call that freedom. It's more like double-plus un-freedom, to borrow an Orwell-ism.

Sergey, where do you buy whatever it is you're smoking?