Google Employees Protest Against China Search Engine; Fear The Project is 'Morally Incorrect'
Employee anger flared with a report earlier this month in The Intercept that Google is secretly building a search engine that will filter content banned in China and thus meet Beijing's tough censorship rules.
Google Refocuses 'Android Things' to Smart Speakers, Screens (Image: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)
Hundreds of Google employees have signed a protest letter over the company's reported work on a censor-friendly search engine to get back into China, The New York Times said Thursday. The employees are demanding more transparency so they can understand the moral implications of their work, said the Times, which obtained a copy of the letter.
It has been signed by 1,400 employees and is circulating on the company's internal communications system, the newspaper said, quoting three people who are familiar with the document. The letter argues that the search engine project and Google's apparent willingness to accept China's censorship requirements "raise urgent moral and ethical issues."
"Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment," they say in the letter, according to the Times.
Employee anger flared with a report earlier this month in The Intercept that Google is secretly building a search engine that will filter content banned in China and thus meet Beijing's tough censorship rules. Google withdrew its search engine from China eight years ago due to censorship and hacking.
The new project is said to be codenamed "Dragonfly."
The tech giant had already come under fire this year from thousands of employees who signed a petition against a $10-million contract with the US military, which was not renewed. With the secret project, Google employees are reportedly worried that they might unknowingly be working on technology that could help China hide information from its people.
"We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we're building," the protest letter says, according to the Times.
At a townhall gathering of employees on Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the firm was committed to transparency, and that while it was "exploring many options", it was "not close to launching a search product in China," the Financial Times reported, citing a person present at the meeting.
Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro and gain access to curated markets data, trading recommendations, equity analysis, investment ideas, insights from market gurus and much more. Get Moneycontrol PRO for 1 year at price of 3 months. Use code FREEDOM.
Recommended For You
- Coming Out of Closet is Better Than Hiding My Relationship: Dutee Chand
- Paul Pogba, Twitter And Racism: An Uneasy Relation Between Footballers And Fans
- Jio Effect: Airtel May Offer Free Android STB, HD LED TV with Broadband, DTH Plans
- First Details of The OnePlus TV Confirmed: It Will Have a 55-Inch QLED Panel
- 'Choked' by Husband’s Extreme Love and Affection, UAE Woman Seeks Divorce