Google Employees Protest Secretive Plans for a Censored Chinese Search Engine

Google Employees Protest Secretive Plans for a Censored Chinese Search Engine

But there's reason to think the employees might get their way - after they protested the company's work with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) on Project Maven back in April, Google announced plans to not renew the contract after it expires in 2019 (though it wouldn't go so far as to swear off all military contracts). More than 1,000 employees have signed a letter demanding more transparency over the project so they do not unwittingly suppress freedom of speech.

Google officials are also requested to have internally visible communications regarding “any new areas of substantial ethical concern”.

Google has faced China's censorship before when it withdrew from the country in 2010 in response to its censorship norms.

Google is facing an employee rebellion over fears it is planning to help China build its super-censored internet.

Some employees are said to be in favor of re-entering China, saying the decision to exit didn't really cause much trouble to local authorities and Google is missing out on the worlds largest base of internet users.

In the letter leaked to the press this week, hundreds of signatories questioned if the company's recently revised morality clause was actually effective if it allowed for the construction of Dragonfly.

The letter says employees lack the information required "to make ethically informed decisions about our work" and complains that most employees only found out about the project - nicknamed Dragonfly - through media reports.

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In audio recording of a meeting with employees obtained by The New York Times, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company was "not close to launching a search product in China".

If Google decides to follow through on its plans, ut would not be the first time Google enters the Chinese market.

"China is one-fifth of the world's population".

The project, known internally as Dragonfly, was developed largely in secret, prompting outrage among employees who anxious they had been unwittingly working on technology that would help China withhold information from its citizens.

This time, however, although Google continues to stay silent on reports of a censored search, the fact that Googlers have reached this stage suggests there's some credence.

The new project is said to be codenamed "Dragonfly". "We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we're building".

"This plan will irreparably damage Google's brand and its ability to compete for talent".