Google planning to launch a censored search engine in China is irresponsible

Google planning to launch a censored search engine in China is irresponsible

Google and other USA internet giants such as Facebook have made attempts to enter the lucrative Chinese market where the Great Firewall blocks access to their apps, website and services.

According to confidential internal documents obtained by The Intercept, Google's Chinese search engine-code-named Dragonfly-has been in development since last spring.

To comply with the Chinese government's strict internet censorship laws, Google's China-only search engine app would block websites and search terms about human rights, peaceful protests, political dissidents, democracy, police brutality, religion, and more. At the time Google cited limitations on free speech, blocked websites, email surveillance, and cyber attacks as reasons for pulling the filtered version.

The news outlet says Google has been working on a project called Dragonfly since previous year and has demonstrated a version of the censored search engine to Chinese officials.

Google said in response to a request for comment that it doesn't "comment on speculation about future plans".

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It has been hard for Google to make any cracks in the Great Firewall which stands rigidly in front of any internet traffic that the Chinese government doesn't like.

"Fun fact: 2 months before I left Microsoft (for Google) I ranted to my manager about how MS had no values, & Google had a sufficiently strong moral compass to forgo business in China for greater principles", Harris wrote.

Progress on the project picked up after a December meeting between Google's Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, it added. As per The Intercept's findings, Google's few hundred engineers and programmers have formulated a custom Android app that might have different versions, codenamed "Maotai" and "Longfei".

However, the Chinese human rights community said Google acquiescing to China's censorship would be a "dark day for internet freedom".

Separately, a Chinese official with knowledge of the plans said that Google has been in contact with authorities at the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) about a modified search program.

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Censorship is set to continue indefinitely within China and seems to be getting more pervasive every year.

The report from The Intercept revealed a project called "Dragonfly", and claimed its existence was known only to a relatively small amount of employees. The censorship will apply across the platform: Google's image search, automatic spell check and suggested search features will incorporate the blacklists, meaning that they will not recommend people information or photographs the government has banned.

Google would be making a disgusting mistake by helping China's authoritarian government censor the internet and suppress dissent.

Academics, university students and other researchers relied heavily on Google's search services to access information not available through Chinese search engines like Baidu. And Google has apparently changed its mind about censorship. For example, links to the BBC website and Wikipedia would be removed from the search results, The Intercept said.

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