Google Employees Demand Oversight of China Censored Search Engine Plan

19 August, 2018, 14:08 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
  • Google employees organize against censored search service for China | TheHill

While expressing interest in continuing to expand the company's services in China, Pichai told the employees that the company was "not close" to launching a search product there and that whether it would - or could - "is all very unclear", the CNBC report said. Google once enjoyed a more than 36 percent share of the Chinese search market, but due to a combination of China's Great Firewall and Google's decision to pull some of its services in response to alleged hacks by Chinese state-sponsored hackers, today it has just over one percent. Complaining that Google management has kept workers in the dark about program's goals, employees are now challenging the company's apparent decision to cave to Chinese government censorship.

Google employees penned a similar petition earlier this year in protest of Project Maven, a contract with the Pentagon for artificial intelligence work they said could be used for lethal purposes.

The former employees said they doubt the government will welcome back Google.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin also spoke to the staff on Thursday (Aug 16) at the company's all-hands meeting, saying that Google isn't compromising its principles.

Google, which has never spoken publicly about the plans, declined to comment.

Dragonfly is reported to be an effort to provide search and personalized mobile news to China, in compliance with Chinese government censorship and surveillance requirements. Few companies have as much regular open and frank communication about sensitive subjects with their staff, and the thinking is that leaks would make them impossible.

Two sources who were privy to what occurred in Thursday's meeting told Business Insider that Pichai only briefly addressed - and not in any detailed way - the big question on the minds of many at the company: Why is Google considering a return to China? The obvious flip flop angered and saddened many at Google who believe Brin and the other leaders have abandoned at least some of their well-publicized ethical values.

That was before news leaked late previous year that Google had agreed to provide the Pentagon with artificial intelligence that could help analyze drone video footage.

In June, Google decided against renewing a United States military contract called Project Maven after staff penned a separate letter.

Only a few hundred of 88,000 employees at Google have been informed of the secret project, The Intercept claims.

He also said that development is still in the early stages, and that sharing information too early could quote "cause issues".



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