Google Faces Renewed Protests and Criticism Over China Search Project
Saturday January 19, 2019. 03:45 AM , from Slashdot
On Friday, a coalition of Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, and human rights groups organized demonstrations outside Google's offices in the U.S., U.K., Canada, India, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark, protesting the company's plan to launch a censored version of its search engine in China. The Intercept reports: Google designed the Chinese search engine, code-named Dragonfly, to blacklist information about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, in accordance with strict rules on censorship in China that are enforced by the country's authoritarian Communist Party government. In December, The Intercept revealed that an internal dispute had forced Google to shut down a data analysis system that it was using to develop the search engine. This had 'effectively ended' the project, sources said, because the company's engineers no longer had the tools they needed to build it.
But Google bosses have not publicly stated that they will cease development of Dragonfly. And the company's CEO Sundar Pichai has refused to rule out potentially launching the search engine some time in the future, though he has insisted that there are no current plans to do so. The organizers of Friday's protests -- which were timed to coincide with Internet Freedom Day -- said that they would continue to demonstrate 'until Google executives confirm that Project Dragonfly has been canceled, once and for all.' Google 'should be connecting the world through the sharing of information, not facilitating human rights abuses by a repressive government determined to crush all forms of peaceful online dissent,' said Gloria Montgomery, director at Tibet Society UK. 'Google's directors must urgently take heed of calls from employees and tens of thousands of global citizens demanding that they immediately halt project Dragonfly. If they don't, Google risks irreversible damage to its reputation.'
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