Google employees protest plans to build censored search engine in China

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 19, 2018

But the search engine giant's growing capabilities has it feeling lucky too.

The search tech giant, owned by the parent company of Alphabet, choose to quit China eight years ago itself to protest the censorship laws and alleged government hacks being meted out at the company.

Three former employees involved with Google's past efforts in China told Reuters current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all.

Google previously launched a censored search engine project in China in 2006.

"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", the letter said. In 2016, the company began developing a new search engine - code-named Dragonfly - to be more compliant with Chinese government restrictions.

At that time, Google Engineering Vice President Ben Gomes announced changes to the company's search algorithm aimed at promoting "authoritative" news sources over "alternative viewpoints". Only about several hundred of them were aware of the project, the report stated.

The petition raises issues regarding morals and ethics, and states that the employees do not have the information needed to make the right decisions about their work, projects, and employment.

Rumors of the Chinese-based search engine have circulated over the past few weeks after The Intercept reported that it had seen leaked documents, suggesting the Sundar Pichai-led Google was planning to re-enter China, almost 8 years after leaving the country.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai says the company is committed to transparency. He also said that Google definitely wants to be in China and do things, and will do its mission well.

Human rights organisations and activists expressed their worry over Google's plans when they were shared earlier this month in USA media reports. "The team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options".

"We are not close to launching a search product in China", Mr Pichai said.

Some of these statements were posted on Twitter, and since then, both the CEO and the Co-founder Sergey Brin stopped responding to questions regarding the Dragonfly project.

Earlier this year, Google dropped "Don't be evil" from its official code of conduct.

Google was forced to backtrack, nominally canceling the "Project Maven" program and adopting a set of ethical guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence. It goes against its principals as it would stop Chinese citizens from gaining access to rightful information.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE