Blames nation states and rivals for the growth of censorship and walled gardens.

Google chief warns of threat to the free web

Google chief Sergey Brin has warned that the internet is facing a "threat to freedom" as the result of censorship and walled gardens from rivals Facebook and Apple.

Brin was thought to be behind the controversial decision to pull out of the growing Chinese market on the basis of alleged state-sponsored cyber-attacks. However in an interview with the Guardian he admitted that he had underestimated the continued effect of censorship.

"I thought there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle, but now it seems in certain areas the genie has been put back in the bottle," said Brin of ever more aggressive web censorship regimes in China, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Brin also said that he and co-founder Larry Page would not have been able to found the ubiquitous Google search engine if the internet was already dominated by Facebook. He went on to complain that Facebook had been "sucking down Gmail contacts for many years" without reciprocating.

The Google chief also jumped on the bandwagon of obviousness by stating the relative ease in which content can be pirated compared to the often convoluted hoops that must be jumped through in order to legitimately buy content.

Brin placed the blame for the situation at the walled gardens of content services, presumably iTunes.

The interview with the Google chief comes as the Guardian begins a week of coverage on what they describe as "the intensifying battle for control of the internet being fought across the globe between governments, companies, military strategists, activists and hackers."

"I am more worried than I have been in the past," Brin said, adding that "very powerful forces" had lined up against a free internet.

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