Google's Sergei Brin has expressed his shock and astonishment that the US Congress is currently considering two bills that he feels are a threat to free speech.
Brin, who co-founded Google along with CEO Larry Page, posted to his Google+ account that he felt the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills would put the US 'on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world'.
"…imagine my astonishment when the newest threat to free speech has come from none other but the United States," stated Brin.
"Two bills currently making their way through congress -- SOPA and PIPA -- give the US government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial)," he continued
"While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don't believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world."
Brin's stance is echoed by many other key figures in the internet and technology, and an open letter – signed by some of the web's most well known names has been published in PDF.
Wales, Hurley, Yang, Stone etc
Those names include Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, Twitter's Biz Stone, YouTube's Chad Hurley, Jimmy Wales from Wikipedia and Yahoo founder Jerry Yang.
"We urge Congress to think hard before changing the regulation that underpins the internet," the letter says. "Let's not deny the next generation of entrepreneurs and founders the same opportunity we all had."
The two bills are both aimed at protecting US patent and intellectual property holders, but could feasibly have much farther-reaching consequences.
The founders letter suggests that passing the acts would have a 'chilling effect on innovation', deny website owners due process of law, hand censorship powers to the government and 'undermine security online'