C&B Notes

Threats to Web Freedom

In a recent interview, Sergey Brin warned of what he believes is the increasing encroachment on the Internet’s informal doctrines of “openness and universal access” that were crucial in U.S), he also notes the damage to these principles that Apple and Facebook create by having “walled gardens” (similar to now defunct Prodigy).  Brin is, of course, not without conflict on this topic, as these “walls” and other restrictions prevent Google from gathering data the company needs to refine and improve the best-of-breed search engine that drives its business.

Brin warned there were “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.”


He said he was most concerned by the efforts of countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and Iran to censor and restrict use of the internet, but warned that the rise of Facebook and Apple, which have their own proprietary platforms and control access to their users, risked stifling innovation and balkanizing the web.

“There’s a lot to be lost,” he said.  “For example, all the information in apps — that data is not crawlable by web crawlers.  You can’t search it.”

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