Google officials urge the company to give up its Dragonfly project, a censoring version of the search engine for the Chinese market


In an open letter published on Tuesday morning, Google officials have asked their employer to cancel the codenamed Dragonfly project, which means a censoring version of the search engine for the Chinese market. In addition, officials asked the company not to respond to whistleblowers who would disclose details of secret internal projects if they were in the public interest.

quote Sent by Google employees

We are Google employees and we joined Amnesty International to ask Google to cancel the Dragonfly project, Google's effort to create a censorship search mechanism for China's state surveillance market.

We are among thousands of employees who have raised our voices for months. International human rights organizations and investigative journalists also sounded the alarm, insisting on serious human rights concerns and repeatedly urging Google to cancel the bill. So far, the response from our leaders has not been satisfactory.

Our opposition Dragonfly does not concern China: we oppose technologies that help the powerful to oppress the most vulnerable, wherever they are. The Chinese government is certainly not the only one who wants to provoke freedom of expression and use vigilance to suppress dissent. Dragonfly in China would set a dangerous precedent for an unstable political momentum, preventing Google from denying similar concessions to other countries.

The decision of our company comes when the Chinese government openly tends to its surveillance powers and its tools of population control. Many of them rely on state-of-the-art technologies and combine online activity, personal recordings and mass surveillance to track and rank citizens. Reports already show who supports the costs, including Uighurs, women's rights advocates and students. Providing the Chinese government with quick access to user data, according to Chinese law, would make Google complicit in oppression and human rights violations.

The dragonfly would also allow censorship and disinformation led by the government and would destabilize the truth upon which popular liberation and dissent lie. Given the Chinese government's crackdown on dissenting voices, such controls would probably be used to silence marginalized people and promote information that is in the interest of the government.

Many of us took a job at Google, keeping company values ​​in mind, including its previous position on Chinese censorship and surveillance, and understanding that Google was a company that puts its values ​​above its profits. After a year of disappointments, especially with the Maven project, Dragonfly and Google's support for abusers, we do not believe that's the case anymore. That's why we take a stand.

We have joined Amnesty International to demand that Google cancel Dragonfly. We also demand that leaders commit to transparency, clear communication and real accountability. Google is too powerful not to be held responsible. We deserve to know what we are building and deserve to have our say in these important decisions.

Google is under pressure

Google described the research application, known as the Dragonfly Project, as an experiment that was not close to being released. But since details have leaked since August, current and former officials, human rights activists and US lawmakers have criticized Google for failing more severely by the Chinese government's policy of politically sensitive results being blocked. .

Human rights group Amnesty International also released a public comment on Tuesday urging Google to cancel Dragonfly. The organization said it would encourage Google employees to log in by targeting them on LinkedIn and demonstrating in front of Google's offices.

About 1,400 of Google's 10,000 employees have asked the company to improve monitoring of suspicious companies, including Dragonfly.

Google has long sought to strengthen its presence in China, the largest Internet market in the world. The company needs government authorization to compete with the country's top local Internet services.

Officials who signed the open letter on Tuesday said they had seen little progress and hoped that more colleagues would publicly support the cancellation of Dragonfly.

The letter expresses concern that the Chinese government is tracking dissidents with search data and erasing the truth through content restrictions.

A Google spokesman said the company did not comment again on the letter of employees, but recalled what the company had already said: We have been investing for many years to help Chinese users, from the development of Android through mobile apps such as Google Translate, as well as our development tools. But our research work was just an exploration and we do not intend to launch a research product in China.

Source: open letter, Reuters

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