Google co-founder Sergey Brin has repeated warnings that the greatest threat to internet freedom is government censorship focused on crushing political dissent, and warned that attacks against online piracy are “misguided and dangerous”.
While castigating censorious regimes, Brin also warned Western democracies faced making similar mistakes if they continue to pursue a war against online piracy.
“Countries such as the US have come close to adopting very similar [web filtering] techniques in order to combat piracy and other vices. I believe these efforts have been misguided and dangerous,” he wrote.
He also stressed that his original comments in promoting an open web were not intended as an attack on the walled gardens of Apple and Facebook.
“I have much admiration for two of the companies we discussed – Apple and Facebook. I have always admired Apple’s products,” he explained.
"Likewise, Facebook has helped to connect hundreds of millions of people, has been a key tool for political expression and has been instrumental to the Arab Spring."
He continued: "Regardless of how you feel about digital ecosystems or about Google, please do not take the free and open internet for granted from government intervention.
“To the extent that free flow of information threatens the powerful, those in power will seek to suppress it.”
Brin's comments were followed by warnings from web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, who said the government's plans to snoop on citizens' email and web habits would be damaging to society.