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

Report: Google's Plan to Launch Censored Search Engine in China Revealed

Google allegedly working on censored search engine for Chinese market

The project - code-named Dragonfly - has been underway since spring of previous year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google's CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans. Unidentified workers told the publication that the Dragonfly search app was a "censorship engine", and comparable to the company's now-abandoned Project Maven deal with the Pentagon-Maven let the military use Google's AI technology to analyse drone footage, and some employees resigned in protest, warning that the arrangement could help mark people for death.

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

The Chinese government maintains strict control over what its people can access online.

The documents, provided by an unnamed Google employee to The Intercept, show that Google engineers at its Mountain View, California head office have been working on a project called "Dragonfly" since the spring of 2017. Pichai has publicly stated he was eager for Google to start operating in China.

A laptop screen displaying the landing page, which linked to an uncensored Hong Kong site on July 1, 2010, in Beijing. The Chinese government is yet to give final approval, The Intercept said.

China already has well-developed Google alternatives, most notably Baidu, a company that has thrived without having to worry about the Silicon Valley giant as a competitor.

The new app, which has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government and is pending approval, was designed in California, with the help from other worldwide Google teams, the report notes. "But we don't comment on speculation about future plans", the spokesman said.

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With more than 770 million Internet users as of late a year ago, China has always been an attractive market for tech companies.

According to the Intercept, the app will automatically pick up on and block websites on Beijing's blacklist, known as the Great Firewall.

Search engines - one of the most important things in the world in this day and age - thus, serve no objective in China.

The mainland Chinese market, however, has been off-limits to the operations of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which are behind the Great Firewall.

Google pulled out of China in 2010 after criticism from civil rights groups and the USA government for censoring results leaving the market to Baidu. Allowing Google back into the country would appear to be of little overall benefit to the Chinese government.

But according to a report from The Intercept, the U.S. tech giant now wants to return to the world's biggest single market for internet users.

In addition to censoring sites such as the BBC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Wikipedia, the Chinese authorities also censor mentions of books that portray governments like China's in a poor light, such as 1984 and Animal Farm.

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