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Google co-founder Sergey Brin  (Source:
Google couldn't have been created on a Web dominated by Facebook, said Google co-founder Sergey Brin; company pays $25,000 fine

Google is worried about the future of the internet, saying that governments and major sites like Facebook are killing the open nature of the web. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has caught Google doing some naughty activities on the internet as well.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently shared his feelings on the current and future state of the internet. He believes freedom and openness on the web is being threatened now more than ever by governments around the world, the entertainment industry, and huge companies like Facebook and Apple.

"I am more worried than I have been in the past," said Brin. "It's scary."

Brin said governments around the globe are trying to restrict and control the access their citizens have on the internet. He namely sees China, Iran and Saudi Arabia as the worst offenders, which is why Google partially pulled out of China in 2010. Concerns over cyber attacks and censorship made the search giant uneasy.

But world governments are not the only ones killing the Internet. According to Brin, tech giants Facebook and Apple have such tightly controlled and proprietary platforms that innovation outside of their reach is nearly impossible.

In fact, Brin said that he and Google co-founder Larry Page would have never been able to create their Google search empire if Facebook had dominated the Internet back then.

"You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive," said Brin. "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."

More specifically, Brin mentioned that Facebook fails to make it easy for users to switch their data to other services.

"Facebook has been sucking down Gmail contacts for many years," said Brin.

Facebook, which has over 800 million users around the world now, is preparing for its upcoming initial public offering (IPO) valued at $75 billion to $100 billion.

Despite Brin's comments, some are pointing fingers at Google as well, saying that their data is in the hands of the U.S. government because it's on Google's servers. The government even occasionally asks for data from Google.

"We push back a lot," said Brin. "We are able to turn down a lot of these requests. We do everything possible to protect the data. If we could wave a magic wand and not be subject to U.S. 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."

That magic wand could have come in handy last Friday, as the FCC fined Google $25,000 USD for collecting personal information from users without their consent while launching its Street View project. This particular project allowed Google to collect certain information from W-Fi networks from May 2007 to May 2010. However, Google ended up collecting unnecessary information as well such as passwords and Internet history.

The FCC said Google has not been cooperating with it during this matter. Google has reportedly protected employees and emails from the investigation. Google disagreed, saying it has provided everything necessary. However, it's still stuck with a $25,000 fine.

Sources: Reuters, The Guardian

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RE: google = be evil
By leviathan05 on 4/16/2012 12:59:54 PM , Rating: 2
Still doesn't equate to being "evil", even if you don't like the practice.

RE: google = be evil
By chromal on 4/16/2012 2:05:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it sure as hell isn't "good," so, what are you arguing? That we call it "morally ambiguous" ?

RE: google = be evil
By TSS on 4/16/2012 3:44:17 PM , Rating: 2
That's exactly what it is. What most things are too. Just because it can be used for evil, doesn't mean it is being used for evil.

Collecting and storing information about your search results isn't good or bad in itself. Using that information to increase the likelyhood that you get more revelant results based on your search history, isn't bad. It's actually good, as it will provide you with a better quality of service. Selling that information to 3rd parties for targeted advertisements... not so good. Though i can't say increasing the quality of ads is a bad thing either, i'm ok with never having to see another womans hygene product at dinner time.

However the reason people are always up in arms is for the potential abuse of said information. That does not mean it is abused.

But i ask you, where is the proof that google abuses that personal information? Where did they not comply with the laws about such information, and recieved a fine appropriate to the severity of that crime (hundreds of millions, not a couple of thousands for probably a wrong line of code). If google is evil, it is no more evil then the laws allow it to be, and i continue to use it because i feel google would comply with the laws where they tightened. And they have shown to resist bad laws where ever possible (though as with china, they do eventually back off).

I'd be more upset with the lawmakers who allow such evil, rather then the companies.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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