Brin also said this:
"If you compare the Internet to the physical world, there really aren't any walls between countries," he said. "If Canada wanted to send tanks into the U.S., there is nothing stopping them and it's the same on the Internet."
I'll pause for a moment for you to contemplate a Rommel-like invasion from our neighbors to the north. If the Canucks were to invade, I think they'd more likely cross the border on mooseback, and only if they'd run out of beer. But I digress.
Fact is, Brin is mostly right. An open Web serves all our interests, not just Google's. Brin saves his harshest criticism for the attempts by repressive governments to shut off the bits of the Internet they don't like, whether it's China's Great Firewall or the U.S. Congress playing lapdog for the content cartel.
The trouble with Google is that it would like the Web to be a little too open -- so open that the company can jump inside and grab all of your personal information. (Don't worry, Google will put it all back when it's done.)
The backlash against the open culture of the Internet is in full swing. In fact, it's more than a backlash, it's a full-on counterattack. As the Guardian article rightly points out, countries like China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and a dozen others are actively trying to neuter the Web for their citizens. Even the United Kingdom and the United States are adopting some of those methods, using the Web to monitor dissidents and/or black out the parts they don't approve of. That's why guerilla movements like Anonymous have such appeal for so many -- it's the underdog fighting back -- and why it's so disappointing when they act like morons.
If I may get lofty for just a moment, I think the Internet has been the single greatest force for freedom in the history of mankind. If the governments and multinational corporations of the world have their way, however, it won't be for much longer.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
Am I being paranoid? Are our Internet freedoms really in danger? Weigh in below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "Google good; Apple and Facebook bad. Any questions?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.