Economy

Google employees protest secret work on censored search engine for China

Google employees protest secret work on censored search engine for China

Google is probably facing intense pressure to introduce more of its products in China, Mok said, but added that the company would lend legitimacy to government censorship if it debuted a censored search product in China.

Google's employees have written an open letter to their company, in protest of reported plans to create a censored search engine for the Chinese market.

Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more 'transparency, oversight and accountability, ' according to an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.

A Google representative was not immediately available for comment.

China is the world's biggest single internet market, but USA companies are having a hard time there, with Google, Twitter and Facebook all being banned.

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The letter calls on executives to review ethics and transparency at the company.

In a version of the letter obtained by the New York Times, the employees say they lack the "information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment".

However, reports last month claimed it had been secretively working on a new Chinese search service, referred to internally as Dragonfly.

"Dragonfly and Google's return to China raise urgent moral and ethical issues".

This time, however, although Google continues to stay silent on reports of a censored search, the fact that Googlers have reached this stage suggests there's some credence.

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After employees petitioned this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the US military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones.

Pichai said Google's stated mission is "to organize the world's information", Bloomberg News reported, quoting a transcript of the employee meeting. It has said in the past that it will not comment on Dragonfly or "speculation about future plans". Hundreds of the company's employees have written to headquarters to protest the project, which they say raises "urgent moral and ethical questions".

TAKING A STAND. Apparently, Google employees were not happy to hear about Dragonfly.

Google pulled its servers out of China in 2010 amid concerns about censorship.

But according to two sources, when the meeting finally ended, it didn't go unnoticed that many details regarding Google's plans for China were still unknown.

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