Google CEO: Internet hampered by 'outdated' laws

Page spoke on stage for more than an hour and devoted the majority of that time to answering questions from members of the audience on what lies ahead for the world of technology. 

“There are many exciting, important things that we can do that we can’t do because they’re illegal and they’re not allowed by regulation. And that makes sense — we don’t want our morals to change too fast,” said Page.

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Google has been no stranger to scrutiny from regulators. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) sent a letter to Page in February expressing concern over the company disclosing the names, addresses and email addresses of customers that purchased applications through Google Play. The government has also been accused of showing the Web behemoth favoritism; some believed that Google was allowed to bend antitrust laws earlier this year when the Federal Trade Commission accepted only a voluntary agreement from the company that they would end practices that stifle online competition, instead of formally charging Google with breaking the law.

Page didn't spare the private sector from criticism. The 40-year-old CEO said he felt that the Internet was not advancing as fast as it could be, and mentioned Microsoft as one of the companies that poses a challenge to that advancement.

“I’d like to see more open standards. More people getting behind things that just work. And more companies involved in those ecosystems. I wouldn’t grade the industry well in terms of where we’ve gotten to,” said Page.

Page also felt that existing laws posed a barrier for technology companies to innovate, and called for “mechanisms to allow experimentation.”

“I think as technologists we can have some safe spaces where we can try out some new things and figure out what is the effect it has on society and what is its effect on people without having to deploy it into the normal world. ... And we don’t have mechanisms for that,” he said, using Burning Man — an annual weeklong retreat in the desert of Nevada — as an example of “an environment where people can try out new things, but not everybody has to go.”