Hundreds of Google employees voiced their opposition to the company’s plan to launch a censored search engine for China that will comply with the country’s strict regulations.
Hundreds of employees signed the open letter, published last week, which condemned the proposed Dragonfly search engine and said it could make the company complicit in China’s rights abuses. The workers said they were among thousands of staffers who opposed the search engine for months. So far, more than 700 employees had added their names and signatures to the letter.
Google designed Dragonfly to censor phrases related to human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protests, The Intercept reported. The search engine also will link users’ search records to their cellphone numbers and make the information accessible to Chinese security agencies. In a separate report in October, The Intercept said Google planned to launch the search engine between January and April of next year.
The letter from employees called on the company to cancel Dragonfly and commit to transparency and clear communication on the project: “Given the Chinese government’s reported suppression of dissident voices, such controls would likely be used to silence marginalized people and favor information that promotes government interests.”
Amnesty International staged protests outside Google offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. —O.O.