If there has ever been a year that demonstrates how central the internet is to society, it is 2020. We have relied on the internet this year for work, entertainment, and to keep us close to family. But the freedom and privacy of the internet are under attack. We have seen authoritarian governments around the world, including in Hong Kong, Iran, Belarus, and many other places, increasingly clamp down on internet freedoms to maintain power against the will of their citizens.
We have also seen how Big Tech companies increasingly control every aspect of our lives, from what news we see, to which apps we can use. As the recent US and EU antitrust investigations highlight, Big Tech companies use their market dominance to disadvantage competitors and further their control over the internet, putting at risk essential rights, such as privacy, freedom of speech, and democracy. Against this backdrop, the announcement of a Google VPN is even more troubling.